Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Karl Marx, Hurricane Irene and the Financial Crisis

NOTE: It's only slightly ironic that economist and Senior Economic Adviser to UBS Investment Bank, George Magnus, urges policy makers to turn to Karl Marx for a solution to the "once-in-a-lifetime crisis of capitalism" we are facing. After all, Marx had no interest in solving the problems of capitalism. Along those lines, I'd like to quote a less famous line from Marx's Theses on Feuerbach: "No. 10 - The standpoint of the old materialism is civil society; the standpoint of the new is human society, or social humanity."

Let's hope humanity wins this fight.


LAST WORD(S)
  • Hurricane Irene and the Financial Crisis - Two disasters, partially of the government's own making (Ira Stoll, Reason.com) The similarities are striking. In both the financial crisis and Irene, the government actions taken were exceptional and involved depriving people of private property without the due process required under the Fifth Amendment.
  • Irene creates strange political bedfellows in NY (Associated Press, Wall Street Journal) City Comptroller John Liu issued a statement praising the mayor on Monday.
  • Give Karl Marx a Chance to Save the World Economy: George Magnus (Bloomberg) So how do we address this crisis? To put Marx’s spirit back in the box, policy makers have to place jobs at the top of the economic agenda, and consider other unorthodox measures. The crisis isn’t temporary, and it certainly won’t be cured by the ideological passion for government austerity.

Americans Don't Think the Federal Government Has 'Consent of the Governed'

Expect a Third-Party Candidate in 2012 - Ross Perot in 1992 and John Anderson in 1980 garnered exceptionally high levels of support.  (By PATRICK H. CADDELL And DOUGLAS E. SCHOEN, Wall Street Journal)  The United States is in the midst of what we would both call a prerevolutionary moment, and there is widespread support for fundamental change in the system. An increasing number of Americans are now searching beyond the two parties for bold and effective leadership.

A Rasmussen Reports poll conducted earlier this month found that "just 17% of likely U.S. voters think that the federal government today has the consent of the governed," while an extraordinary 69% "believe the government does not have that consent." 

2012
  • The Democratic Jobs Debate As Mass Denial (Jonathan Chait, The New Republic) But his plan needs to be understood as a political strategy, not as a legislative strategy. The point of it is to propose something that is popular and which Obama can blame Republicans for blocking. There is no upside in blaming the opposition for blocking a bill that voters don't want to pass.
  • Margin Favoring Repeal Hits 20 Points (By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON, The Weekly Standard/The Blog) If this news weren’t bad enough for the White House’s current occupant, independent voters are even less fond of Obamacare than voters as a whole. By a tally of 58 to 37 percent, independents support repeal. Among independents who feel “strongly” (either way), 49 percent support repeal, while only 21 percent oppose it — nearly one-half to barely one-fifth.
  • Jay Carney: Obama helping African-Americans (By REID J. EPSTEIN, Politico)
  • Cornyn: 'WH wishes' Huntsman would run as Independent (By Michael O'Brien, The Hill/Twitter Room) Cornyn, one of the GOP's campaign gurus who heads the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), mused on Twitter that it would be in President Obama's interest for Huntsman to seek the presidency as an Independent candidate.
  • Huntsman, best candidate for a third party (By LZ Granderson, CNN) But then I look at the field of Republican candidates and I just feel trapped, as our election process has become less about which candidate you prefer and more like which limb you want to cut off.
  • Obama appeals to black voters amid criticism from lawmakers, rights leaders (in Cleveland Plain Dealer) "And it's important for us to make sure that we're following through on those commitments, even if it's slow and frustrating sometimes."

Arizona Mail-In Vote Stacked Against Independent Voters


INDEPENDENT VOTERS
  • Officials pleased with city's first vote-by-mail election (KVOA) McTee says, "The person who designed this mail in vote seems to have stacked it against the independent voter. My husband is a Republican and he received a ballot in the mail. And I'm an independent voter so I didn't get one."
  • Report: Arizona independents growing in voters but not unified (By JOANNE INGRAM Cronkite News Service, East Valley Tribune) Robert Winn, a Maricopa political activist who has run write-in campaigns for governor and Senate as an independent, said independents have more power than the study suggests. “Independent voters are calling the shots now because they’ve got the numbers,” said Winn, who last year self-published a book called “A House Divided: Political Parties and Independence.”
OPEN PRIMARIES
  • 2012 election: Republican presidential primary not really ‘closed’ (By DAN D'ADDONA, The Holland Sentinel - MI) Michigan Republican leaders recently voted to choose the party’s 2012 presidential candidates with a closed primary… But since Michigan doesn’t require voters to register with a party, there isn’t anything stopping anyone from participating in the primary.
THIRD PARTY

What Do Independents Want? Congress Should Investigate Biases Against Full Participation in Political Process by Nonpartisan Voters

  • According to IndependentVoting.org, over 2,000 letters, postcards and petitions have been sent to members of Congress over the summer to 1) educate Congress and shine a light on the effect of partisan control of the election process, namely that 40% of Americans have a second class status; and 2) to urge Congress to investigate these biases by holding hearings.
  • Anna Sale Talks with Independent Voters  (The Brian Lehrer Show) VIDEO
  • Anna and the Independent Voter: Targeting Minorities (WNYC) AUDIO
  • Poll: Double digit support for hypothetical Independent Presidential candidates (by Damon Eris, CAIVN) "Despite their grumbling, Democrats remain pretty united behind Obama, and six of the seven possible independent candidates would hurt Romney more than the president," writes Dustin Ingalls in an analysis of the results at the PPP blog.
  • AP-GfK Poll: Obama faces trouble with key voters (By KEN THOMAS and JENNIFER AGIESTA, Forbes) Obama will have to win over people such as Brian Arnold, 33, of Pickerington, Ohio. He's an independent who voted for Obama in 2008 because he liked the Democrat's outsider image. Now, Arnold says he's undecided and down on Obama. "He got elected, it was a big party and after that he went back to being a politician. As soon as he got in office, he just did more of the same."

Rev. Al Sharpton on MSNBC: Cable News Wants More "Pop"


SHARPTON
Hiring Of Sharpton By MSNBC Follows Larger Trend (WNYC/NPR) That kind of hiring is somewhat of a trend, he says. Other examples include Eliot Spitzer at CNN and Fox News hiring Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee. "I think what we're seeing increasingly is that cable news executives are looking for people who pop on screen and will get people to watch the shows," Deggans says.

Tea Party: Republican and Unpopular

Lots of ink lately about the unpopularity of the tea party among American voters, particularly independents, and discussion of the tea party's location as the right wing of the Repub Party:

TEA PARTY
  • Study: Tea Party Is Least Popular Group (Pensito Review) Early on tea partiers were often described as non-partisan politic neophytes. Actually, the tea party’s supporters today were highly partisan Republicans long before the tea party was born. In fact, past Republican affiliation is the single strongest predictor of tea party support today. Next to being a Republican, the strongest predictor of being tea party supporter today was a desire, back in 2006, to see religion play a prominent role in politics … They were disproportionately social conservatives in 2006…
  • VIDEO Rachel Maddow with David E. Campbell


Saturday, August 27, 2011

calm like a berkshire vacation before irene

PHOTO: Carrie Lobman

Independent Voters on the Rise: Disappointed But Not Discouraged

Indies are increasingly disappointed by the performance of Congress, and the President, but the campaign for structural political reforms like open primaries, nonpartisan elections, independent redistricting, fair access to the ballot, citizen initiative and referendum and fusion is gaining ground nationally...   Closed primaries, which exclude independents from the crucial first round of voting, is one major structural obstacle to a vigorous democracy. (See www.OpenPrimaries.org)  Another obstacle is partisan control of redistricting, whereby state legislators – Republicans and Democrats all – carve up their state’s districts to guarantee the election of party-sanctioned candidates, using the power of partisan legislatures to support the status quo. Discriminatory ballot access requirements that are heavily biased against independent and third-party candidates, and the exclusion of such candidates from the nationally televised presidential debates jointly sponsored by the two major parties, are other obstacles. State laws that ban fusion and citizens’ initiative and referendum distance independents and all voters from the policy-making process.


National Conference Call for Independents.  Every six weeks, CUIP president Jacqueline Salit hosts America's largest ongoing national call for independents. She provides updates about what independents are doing around the country and how the movement is growing. Get connected, hear updates. 

Listen to 5/10 conference call here.

INDEPENDENT VOTERS
  • Congress more unpopular than ever (By Jennifer Agiesta and Laurie Kellman, Chicago Sun Times) Much about the next election hinges on independent voters, the ever-growing group fiercely wooed by campaigns for years. Among them, 65 percent say they want their own House representative tossed out in 2012, compared with 53 percent of respondents generally.
  • AP-GfK Poll: 87% in US disapprove of Congress (By LAURIE KELLMAN, The Associated Press - Atlanta Journal Constitution) Republicans and Democrats statistically tied, 40 percent to 43 percent respectively, when respondents were asked which party they trust more to handle the federal budget deficit. Nearly a third of independents said they trust neither party on the issue.
  • Independents WANT Obama to fight GOP harder (By Greg Sargent, Washington Post/The Plum Line) Pew poll:     A 37% plurality now contends that Obama should challenge the Republicans in Congress more often; 25% say Obama should go along with GOP leaders more frequently, while about the same percentage (26%) say he is handling the situation about right. In April, fewer (27%) said Obama should challenge GOP congressional leaders more often.
  • Charlie Cook: Travels With Charlie: America's Summer of Discontent (National Journal) But the fact that so much discontent exists in both parties is a sign of something deeply corrosive happening in this country. It isn’t just independent voters who have a derisive view of politics, elected officials, and public institutions. There is a growing sense that few good people are going into politics, and that many of those who are currently in office — people who are smart, experienced, and well-intentioned — are somehow neutralized, co-opted, or thwarted. A sense that institutions are failing, and no sense that they are being replaced with something that will succeed.

Arizona Independents Need to Pick a Party Ballot to Vote in the Primary


ARIZONA PRIMARY
Get Tucson primary ballots in the mail by the end of Friday (By Christopher Francis, KOLD - Tucson) The city has also tweaked its vote-by-mail website after our story earlier this week about independent voters being left without ballots despite the web site's claim that one would be sent out automatically.

Partisans All in a Fight About Redistricting Lines


PARTISAN REDISTRICTING BATTLEFIELDS
  • Redistricting Roundup: Stormy tension continues as bipartisan continuity drying up (Edited by Geoff Pallay, Ballot News)
  • Our watchdog role in redistricting (By Dorothy Shaw, Atlanta Journal Constitution) A few states use an independent commission, an approach we strongly advocate. In 2006, Gov. Sonny Perdue’s Independent Redistricting Task Force made a similar recommendation to put the line drawing in the hands of a citizens’ redistricting commission, but unfortunately the Legislature ignored the recommendation.
  • Arizona sues over Voting Rights Act (by Alia Beard Rau, The Arizona Republic) Arizona is the first state to challenge the constitutionality of sections of the federal law that forbid states from enacting a law or process that denies or limits someone's right to vote based on their race or color.

Pataki Latest Candidate Not Running for President


2012
Source: Pataki decides against White House run (By: CNN Senior Political Editor Mark Preston) “I remain committed to the advancement of real, politically viable reforms to entitlements and rolling back the size and cost of the federal government. At this time, I will continue to do this as the leader of No American Debt and not as a candidate for president."

Friday, August 26, 2011

calm before the storm

PHOTO: Marian Rich

Anna Sale: Finding Nonpartisans in a Partisan World

Anna Sale has a big job -- finding out what nonpartisans, in a partisan world, think. And she's not doing too bad!

INDEPENDENT VOTERS
The Changing Face of America's Independent Voters (AUDIO The Takeaway) Anna Sale on the radio talks about independents and race

California Court Upholds Labels for Ballot Status Parties in Top Two Elections; Arizona Independents Want Fair Access to Primaries

This ruling upholds a distinction between ballot status parties and other parties or candidates in how candidates are listed on the new Top Two election ballots in California. This distinction is a dubious one for third party advocates like Richard Winger, the country's leading ballot access expert. At a time when parties are losing favor among the electorate, at least part of the controversy over California's new open primary system seems to rest on the listing of party labels.

Where do you line up on my little survey?

A. Listing a party is important because it indicates the ideological position on a left-right political spectrum.
B. I don't like parties, I vote for the candidate.
C. What's ballot status and who benefits from that?
D. Other ________ (Tell me what you *really* think!)

Let me know what you think!

PROP 14
U.S. District Judge Upholds California’s Discriminatory Ballot Label Law (Ballot Access News) The opinion says that California has an interest in maintaining the distinction between qualified parties and unqualified parties, and cites various opinions from systems in which parties nominate candidates.

And meanwhile.....
OPEN PRIMARIES 
Tucson Independent voters in danger of being left out of Primary (Fox 11 AZ) It wasn't clear that the Independent voters needed to request a ballot.  So, yes we did make a mistake in that," said city spokesman Michael Graham. That mistake has since been corrected. The city says it mailed Independent voters a postcard on May 16 warning them they'd have to pick a party to vote in the primary.

President Obama, Please Call Jacqueline Salit - Now!

As the late Fred Newman would sometimes say while Talk Talk-ing with his close friend and colleague, independent strategist Jackie Salit, "if I were advising the President, which I'm not..." Well, I'm not advising the President, but if I were, what I would say to him right now is: I think you should pick up the phone and call Salit and and ask her how to get out of this mess. I bet you'd hear some things you haven't heard from your advisors and the pundits because Salit operates outside the perimeters of the partisan quagmire. 212-609-2800. Mr. President -- relief is only a phone call away! Call now! 

2012
  • Third-party bids would help Obama (Public Policy Polling) Though he refused in 2008, there would probably be a lot of appetite for a third-party candidacy from 1988 Libertarian Party nominee Ron Paul. He would get a solid 15%, with Romney falling to 33% and Obama still at 45%. Paul earns the most independent support of any of these third-party options (20%), almost all GOP-leaners, as Obama beats Romney by 20 with independents overall. Paul also holds Romney to 63% of Republicans, taking 22% himself. Despite his supporters' claims about his popularity with Democrats, Paul wouldn't get anymore crossover support from Democrats than any of the others.
  • Obama Leadership Image Takes a Hit, GOP Ratings Decline - Continued Dissatisfaction with Republican Field (Pew Research) Independent voters are divided over their preference in the 2012 general election. As many say they would like to see Obama reelected (38%) as say they prefer a Republican candidate to win (36%). In May, Obama enjoyed a seven-point edge among independents (42%-35%). In July, just 31% of independents backed Obama while 39% preferred to see a Republican win.
  • Obama’s efforts to woo independents derailed by debt-ceiling agreement (By Ian Swanson, The Hill) The reason Obama has sought out independents is clear. Obama won the independent vote in 2008 by 8 percentage points, but independents swung to Republicans in the 2010 congressional elections. Since then, the president has made a series of decisions intended to win back independent voters.
  • Rasmussen: Ron Paul in dead heat with President Obama in hypothetical 2012 race (by Christopher A. Guzman, CAIVN) "What if the Republicans nominate Ron Paul? If the 2012 Presidential Election were held today would you vote for Republican Ron Paul or Democrat Barack Obama?" As President, Barack Obama captured 39% of the vote among likely voters, with the Texas Congressman right on his tail with 38%.
  • A Unified Theory of Obama (By Jesse Weed, American Thinker) In summary, the profile is of a  man who is: (1) convinced that he knows what America should become and that his vision for America is morally superior; (2) convinced that his vision is unpalatable to the majority of Americans and that hence, Americans must be tricked into heading for the proper destination without being given a clear statement of just what that destination is; (3) convinced that he must appear the high-minded statesman rather than the combative ideologue in order to nudge America along its righteous path.  Let us call this the X-Profile.
  • Obama’s Team Is Blowing It (Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast) The fundamental problem appears to be the excessive fixation on Obama’s (forgive me for even using this word) “brand”—this “adult in the room” nonsense. Whenever I see those words in print anymore, usually in a background quote from a White House aide or a Democratic source trying gamely to be on-message, I hear strong and unsettling echoes of the 2008-vintage messianism. Does anyone buy this anymore, outside of what appears to be an increasingly bubble-ized White House? Those beloved independents certainly aren’t thinking of the president that way these days, and one doubts that even most of his supporters are.

Gatewood Galbraith, Kentucy's Independent Gov Candidate Talks About Medical Marijuana and Lots More


KENTUCKY
Gatewood Galbraith: Running Against A “Culture Of Corruption” (The 420 Times - the magazine of medical marijuana and natural healing) The two party system is just as entrenched here as it is everywhere else, and the establishment is extremely hostile to outside candidates, even one that has ran as many times as Gatewood has.



Pedro Espada's Soundview Wins Stay from Judge


NEW YORK
  • Pedro wins a round in clinic fight (By CARL CAMPANILE, NY Post) In a court hearing yesterday, Bronx Supreme Court Judge Stanley Green issued a stay on any state action until the merits of Espada's legal challenge -- which was filed Tuesday -- are heard on Sept. 19.
  • Time May Not Be Up For Espada's Soundview (BY Celeste Katz, NY Daily News/Daily Politics) Soundview Health Care Network won a stay that could delay efforts by the Cuomo administration to strip the clinics of Medicaid reimbursements, Espada told reporters.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

tomorrow is another day

PHOTO: Nancy Hanks

vote as you are

If Pres. Obama wants to fix partisanship he should look to California

Jason Olson: If Obama wants to fix partisanship he should look to California. http://bit.ly/p4543I


FORUM: Look to California for path to post-partisan model


by Jason Olson

President Barack Obama recently took to the air in his weekly radio address and focused on an issue of concern to most Americans: the negative effects of partisanship on the political process.
Obama said, "[L]ately, the response from Washington has been partisanship and gridlock that's only undermined public confidence and hindered our efforts to grow the economy. So while there's nothing wrong with our country, there is something wrong with our politics, and that's what we've got to fix." The president implored the American people to contact their local representatives and air their frustrations while he demanded that Congress end its partisan ways.

But if President Obama thinks that's all it's going to take to fix partisanship, he's in for a rude awakening. On the other hand, if he is finally getting serious about political change, then he should look to California.

For the past several decades, there has been an unspoken agreement between the American people and the major political parties. As long as the political parties took care of the important issues ---- the economy, maintaining a basic social safety net, keeping our streets safe and protecting our nation ---- the American people would let them "get away" with partisan shenanigans and special-interest horse trading. In fact, the American people allowed them to restructure the entire political process so that the political party insiders ---- and not the voters ---- decided who was elected to office.
While we can debate when and where this agreement began to unravel, what is clear is that the Democratic and Republican parties are defaulting on their part of that agreement. Equally clear is the fact that as long as partisan self-interest is the only principle guiding our elected representatives, then our country is in serious trouble.

In the face of fiscal meltdown and political gridlock, Californians have passed fundamental reforms necessary to remove the structural partisanship. In 2008 and 2010, voters passed critical reform measures that remove partisan control over our elections process by empowering all voters ---- particularly independents. Gone is the ability of the partisan politicians to gerrymander every election district to ensure their own re-elections. Gone is a partisan primary that allows the parties to lock out the state's 3.5 million independent voters and dictate the process. As a result, in 2012, California's election system will be radically different, as the political parties are forced to reach beyond their narrow bases to get elected.

Perhaps as important as the reforms themselves was the manner in which they were passed. Each effort had a diverse coalition that included independents in key leadership positions. Each effort was built upon a message of nonpartisanship, heavily influenced by independents.
As an independent who, like so many, supported candidate Obama in 2008 based on his promise to bring fundamental political change to Washington, D.C., I want to believe that President Obama is now willing to do what is necessary to repair our democracy. That would mean moving beyond chiding electing representatives and taking the lead on attacking the structure of partisanship itself. If President Obama is ready to follow California's lead in taking on that structural partisanship, then there may yet be "hope."

Jason Olson is the Director of IndependentVoice.Org, a leader in passing Redistricting Reform and Open Primary Measures in California between 2008-2010.

Read more: http://www.nctimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/article_953f6b62-4ee6-5edb-94b3-57b51d030494.html#ixzz1W2qMOPPz

Third Party Tremors, 2012 Political Earthquake


2012
  • Could Third-Party Tremors Result in a 2012 Political Earthquake? (Matthew Dowd, ABC News Analyst) Thus, 51 percent of the electorate is a mishmash of independents, and not ideological members of either political party.
  • Obama 39%, Paul 38% (Rasmussen Reports) Paul, whose long run afoul of the GOP establishment with his libertarian policy prescriptions, picks up 61% of the Republican vote, while 78% of Democrats fall in behind the president. Voters not affiliated with either of the major political parties prefer the longtime congressman by 10 points – 43% to 33%.
  • Poll: Ron Paul tied with Obama (D.K. Jamaal, Post-Partisan Examiner) The poll indicates that the biggest hurdle between Ron Paul and the Presidency he has long sought is neither Democrats nor independents, but the controversial Congressman’s own party.

Will Oatis Runs as Independent for Mississippi Governor


MISSISSIPPI GOV RACE
  • Mississippi voters pick Democratic governor nominee (By Jacob Batte, Reuters) DuPree will now face Republican Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant and independent candidate Will Oatis in the general election.
  • DuPree wins Democratic governor nomination (Written by TERRY L. JONES, Hattiesburg American) Independent Will Oatis of Silver Creek is running a low-budget campaign for governor. Two rival factions of the Reform Party also want to put a candidate in the race, but the state Board of Election Commissioners has not yet decided which Reform candidate - if either - can run.

Black Voters in Bad Relationship with Democratic Party, Going Independent


LAST WORD
Black Voters and the Battered Voter Syndrome (By George Boykin, American Thinker) Unfortunately, the vast majority of black voters have been bitch-slapped so for so long by the Democratic Party that many seem to be afflicted with the battered voter syndrome (BVS).

NOTE: About 24% of black voters are independent. Independents and black voters joined together in 2008 to elect Pres. Obama, and 50% of black voters in NYC voted for independent Mike Bloomberg in 2005. This is a coalition that is not going away. AND African American voters are becoming increasingly independent. Check out this Raw Story editorial by Recardo Gibson "African Americans' disaffection with Democrats growing":

The New African American Voter
Leviticus Turner, a 24-year-old African American female and second-generation college graduate from Chicago, defines herself as an Independent and was a self-described Democrat until 2000. When asked what prompted the switch she responded, “I don’t just vote on party lines anymore. I used to. Although I was never, explicitly, told to vote Democratic, it was implied: That’s what black people do. But now, I look at each candidate individually.”

Turner is not alone in this trend that sees African Americans moving toward the status of Independent voters. The Joint Center for Politics and Economic Studies, in another poll, revealed that 24 percent of African Americans identify themselves as Independents, and 10 percent as Republicans, each up from 2000. The poll went on to show that the number of blacks voting Democratic in the 2002 election was 63 percent, down from 2000. This survey suggested that many black Democrats are rethinking their political affiliation.

Although Turner is open to voting for a Republican, she said won’t vote for Bush. Turner pointed to the economy as the main reason why she is seeking another option.

 *******

From the Joint Center for Politics and Economic Studies 2006 paper, those independents are young voters:

Young Black Voters
While the 74 percent of African Americans who identified with the Democratic Party in the Joint Center’s 2004 National Opinion Poll is down from the recent high point (2000),
there is ample reason to believe this trend is reversing, largely because the previous decline in support from young African Americans has been reversed. The 74 percent of African Americans who identified with the Democratic Party consisted of 63 percent who clearly identified with the party, and 11 percent who identified themselves as political independents, but who “lean” more to the Democratic Party than to the GOP.

Prior to 2004, declines in black
Democratic identification had been driven by younger, i.e., under the age of 35, African Americans. In Joint Center national opinion polls conducted prior to 2004, only 50 to 60 percent of 18- to-25-year-old African Americans identified with the Democratic Party (Figure 1). However, since the Bush Administration launched the Iraq war, younger African Americans have moved decisively leftward, with 75 percent identifying with the Democrats in 2004. In the 2004 election, 18-29 year-olds were the only age cohort where Kerry defeated Bush.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Magical Thinking about Top Two Elections



The Hankster recently posted an article that mentioned Washington state’s new top two general election, which is preceded by an open primary. Upon clicking the link I found my friend Richard Winger having another one of his automatic fits triggered by the words “top two.” Top two, if not the root of all evil, at least is the bane of third parties, and the friend of incumbents.

But upon close examination, anyone can see that Richard is espousing unscientific mysticism, or magical thinking.

There is no causal relationship of any sort between a top two process for taking the final vote on candidates for office, and favoritism for incumbents or bias against minor parties.

There is only one causal relationship attributable to the final top two vote: namely, the winner receives a majority of the votes.

Richard’s argument that top two is biased against third parties and favors incumbents is pure voodoo. The causes of incumbents repeatedly winning re-election are well-known in political science. Incumbents have forged strong connections with the needed elites in their district. Incumbents generally have more campaign money, more name recognition, more activists in their campaigns, and easier access to the local media. Third parties regularly loose elections because they lack all the advantages of incumbency.

Gerrymandered districts also contribute to incumbent advantage. Party primaries are an additional factor that favors incumbents, because incumbent enthusiasts are more likely to turn out for primaries than are uncommitted middle Americans. Rigged districts and holding primaries also favor extremists, and can foster polarization.

Here is the key point missed by Richard: These factors have their determinative effects in the politics that take place long before the top two elections occurs.

Every sausage maker knows that a good sausage is not determined by the gut that holds the sausage together, but by the ingredients poured into the gut. But Richard is the only cook around who ignores the ingredients, and blames the foul taste of bad sausage on the gut, which everyone else regards as neutral in taste.

All the events that occur before the final top two vote are what account for the persistence of immoderate politicians, polarized legislatures, the failures of third parties, and the repeated re-election of incumbents. This is the case for Louisiana, California, Washington, Wisconsin, and every other state with these dysfunctional patterns.

Richard recognizes the dysfunctionality, but blames the victim – the final top two vote – rather than dealing with the intransigent causes. These causes are the natural consequences of a political system dominated by our a-constitutional two-party system. Putting the gut on the sausage is the last step. If the sausage is bad, it is all the steps taken prior to the last step that are to blame. The last step is neutral.

William J. Kelleher, Ph.D.
Internetvoting@gmail.com
Blog: http://tinyurl.com/IV4All
Face Book: http://tinyurl.com/BillonFB
Twitter: wjkno1
Internet Voting Explained on
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/WJKPhD

whole lotta shakin' goin' on

PHOTO: Sandy Friedman
Yesterday's earthquake from Trump Tower

Arizona Independents Have to Pick a Party for Primary Vote


OPEN PRIMARIES
  • Independent voters can't remain independent in primary (By Bud Foster, KOLD News 13 CBS) For the first time, the city of Tucson is holding an all mail in primary election. It's designed to save money and increase voter participation. But for the independent voter, it's an uneasy feeling. On May 25, the city clerk's office sent out a post card telling independents if they wanted to vote in the primary, they had to request a GOP, Democrat, or Green Party ballot. Nearly 8,600 have done so. But that leaves 61,000 who have not.
  • Editorial: California's Republicans should stop whining, build the party (The Monterey County Herald) Since the last redistricting a decade ago, the Republican share of California voters has fallen by 4percent to less than 32 percent. The Dems' share also dropped but only by 1 point, to 44 percent. Twenty percent of registered California voters now call themselves independents, but that should drop when open primaries begin in June. The secret to keeping the GOP from becoming a third party of sorts is for it to offer up more moderate candidates and fewer partisans who pledge to vote the party line and to vote against any tax increases no matter how necessary or logical.
  • Ron Bancroft: For Class of 1961, time running short to turn nation around (By RON BANCROFT, Portland Press Herald - OR) Such redistricting will likely lead to a better balance of both parties in more districts – a good thing that diminishes extreme partisanship. The single open primary now being used in the state of Washington is meant to do the same thing. In a single primary, all candidates contest on one ballot. The primary is open to all voters. The top two vote-getters go on to the general election. Again, the theory here is that those candidates who appeal to a broader range of voters are more likely to achieve top positioning.

Taking Independent Redistricting to Court


INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING
  • CA: Daily News Editorial: Flawed process -- City and county redistricting plans are vulnerable to political interests (LA Daily News) Not that everything about the state's independent redistricting commission is perfect. The commission faced a short timetable and was slow to get its act together. It submitted congressional and state Senate and Assembly maps that especially angered Republicans and Latino activists, inspiring legal challenges from both groups. But in general the state panel did what it was supposed to, deliberating openly and without obvious favor to office-holders and parties, which is why the results satisfied particular interest groups less than citizens at large. Can the city and county match this success? There are reasons for doubt.
  • MN: Looking to the people to fix a broken redistricting system (By Alleen Brown, Twin Cities Daily Planet) This year, as in every redistricting year since the 1960s, the governor vetoed the legislature's proposed district changes. Governor Dayton said the Republican legislators' map had zero bipartisan support and gave unfair advantage to Republican incumbents. Now the issue has gone to a court-appointed panel of five judges. They will hear testimony from the public between October 6 and 14. Redistricting must be complete by February 21, 2012.

2012: Poll Crazy


2012
  • Obama in statistical dead heat with Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann (By Corbett B. Daly, CBS News/Political Hotsheet) Among registered voters, the president scored higher than Bachmann and Rep. Ron Paul, though both of those differences were still within the margin of error for the poll conducted August 17-18. Against Paul's 45 percent, Mr. Obama took 47 percent and compared to Bachmann's 44 percent, Mr. Obama garnered 48 percent.
  • Jon Huntsman goes on offensive against 2012 rivals - The Republican presidential hopeful casts himself as a moderate in a field of extreme candidates. (Jon Huntsman Jr., By Kim Geiger, Washington Bureau, LA Times) Since entering the presidential race in late June, Huntsman has polled poorly and largely sidestepped Iowa. On Sunday, he said he would focus on New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida with "a center-right message for a center-right country."
  • Obama aide gets grilled by black lawmakers on jobs (By Peter Wallsten, Washington Post) Obama and his aides say all Americans including blacks benefit from broad-based policies. But many black lawmakers and civil rights leaders want direct, targeted aid — and some worry that Obama’s pursuit of white independent voters might make him reluctant to advocate for blacks.

Brooklyn Special Election Brings Out the Pols


NEW YORK
Three Candidates Vie in a Special Special Election (by David King, Gotham Gazette) Towns has her family name. She is the adopted daughter of U.S. Rep. Edolphus Towns, and Brooklyn voters are accustomed to voting for that name. But they won't be able to do it on the Democratic line this year as Rafael Espinal, staffer to City Councilmember Erik Dilan, son of state Sen. Martin Dilan, has the Democratic, Republican and Conservative lines, and is also backed by Brooklyn Democratic leader and power broker Assemblymember Vito Lopez. Because there is no primary for special elections, Towns had to create her own line and so will appear on her own Community First line. Meanwhile community organizer Jesus Gonzalez is running on the Working Families Party line and reportedly has the backing of Rep. Nydia Velasquez, a long-time rival of Vito Lopez.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

stone of hope

MLK Monument in Washington DC

Anna Sale: Independent Voters in New Hampshire



INDEPENDENT VOTERS

2012: What Are the Repubs To Do?


2012
  • Paging Reasonable Republicans (Mark McKinnon, The Daily Beast) Long-shot presidential candidate Jon Huntsman is stirring the pot by challenging the far-right lunacy of the GOP primary race. Mark McKinnon says the grown-up talk is just what the party needs—and why it’s not too late for a reasonable conservative to jump in.
  • Ex-NY Gov. Pataki mulls possible presidential run (Wall Street Journal, Associated Press) Among them are what Pataki considers Obama's lack of a serious plan to deal with the nation's debt, and Pataki's own moderate views that could attract independent voters in the important New Hampshire primary.

Do NYC Repubs Have a Chance in September Special Election?


NEW YORK
Two Chances for the GOP - Turner, Niehaus Endorsed by the Sun (Editorial of The New York) The special elections on September 13 include two in which there is a possibility of bringing in Republicans to fill seats taken for granted by Democrats. One of them, to fill the seat vacated by Congressman Anthony Weiner, features a Republican, in Robert Turner, who has come within six points of a Weiner-like Democrat, David Weprin, according to the latest poll. In the other, a Republican, Paul Niehaus, is running on the Upper East Side of Manhattan against a union-backed Democrat, Daniel Quart, to fill the seat in the state assembly vacated by Jonathan Bing, when he resigned to join Governor Cuomo’s administration.

Rev. Al Sharpton Honoring MLK with Jobs March on Washington Sat. Aug. 27


LAST WORD
Tourists, locals alike honored by King memorial (By BEN NUCKOLS, Bloomberg Businessweek) Hundreds of people slowly filed through the entrance to the 4-acre memorial site on a warm, sunny Monday morning in the nation's capital. Before reaching the sculpture, they passed through two pieces of granite carved to resemble the sides of a mountain. About 50 feet ahead stands the 30-foot-tall sculpture by Chinese artist Lei Yixin. King appears to emerge from a stone extracted from the mountain, facing southeast across the Tidal Basin to the Jefferson Memorial.


Rev. Al Sharpton To March For Jobs In D.C.
Rev. Al Sharpton and National Action Network (NAN) will hold a mass march for jobs and justice on Saturday, August 27, 2011 in Washington, D.C.
The rally and march is expected to attract thousands of members of the civil rights community.
Martin Luther King III, Tom Joyner, CEO of the National Urban League Marc Morial, NAACP President Ben Jealous, and other notable figures are scheduled to lead the march and speak to attendees.
The march will begin on Constitution Ave NW and 17th Street NW at 1:30pm and progress to the King Memorial site on Ohio Drive, SW and West Basin Drive, SW.
According to a press release, NAN’s goal to emphasize what it was that gave Dr. King such an exalted place in American history.
NAN states:
It was his work for civil rights and labor rights that made him the historic figure he has become. It was near the grounds of his monument that he was planning a tent city for poor people when he was killed. NAN will use the occasion of August 27th to raise this unfinished business and challenge those that seek to undo what Dr. King tried to do for working people and labor in this country.
“There are relatively few moments in our lives that make history; The weekend of August 27th & 28th will be one for the history books as we not only commemorate the 48th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream Speech’, but also when the world bears witness to the unveiling of the national King Memorial,”  Rev. Sharpton shared in a statement released today.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Independent Voters: 40 Percent of the Electorate, Not Just Some Demographic Group


INDEPENDENT VOTERS
  • CBS Panel Cool on 'Far Right' GOP Candidates, 'Bush Looks Like Abraham Lincoln' (By Brad Wilmouth, NewsBusters) Avlon agreed that the GOP candidates are "far right": "That is a fundamental problem with the Republican Party that has moved from center right to far right, increasingly, and, look, independent voters are 40 percent of the electorate, the largest and the fastest growing segment. So this isn't just some, you know, demographic group you got to appeal to."
  • Dan Walters: Older Democratic politicians clogging up the waiting line (By Dan Walters, Modesto Bee) Top Two: Regardless, it will empower the growing ranks of independent voters. And it may compel candidates to make wider appeals, rather than concentrating on the ideological true believers who have tended to dominate closed party primaries.

California Independent Redistricting; Mississippi Open Primaries

CALIFORNIA REDISTRICTING
California's voting lines of contention - Critics on the right and the left are finding fault with California's proposed new voting districts. (EDITORIAL LA Times)

OPEN PRIMARIES
Elections should be open to all (LETTER Clarion Ledger) If enough people get upset enough, we might be able to do some of these things in this state with initiative and referendum.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Al Jazerra live coverage: the people are speaking in libya

Al Jazerra live coverage

Libyan people [or some combination of the people and some political forces] are succeeding to overthrow the Gaddafi regime.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

open up the system

Mike Lewis in Kentucky for Open Primaries
Colette Rocher, NY for Congressional Hearings

Attempt to Categorize Independents as "Pure" - Not So Much

HANKSTER COMMENTARY: In my opinion, most of the anti-independent commentary we see in the media is based on an obscure 1992 "report" that claimed that independents are really partisans in independent clothing. Independents in Name Only. Closet partisans.  Besides being 20 years old,  in a strict and tightly-controlled 2-party duopoly monopoly, why would anyone be surprised!?

Of note would be Anna Sales' coverage of ordinary independents over the past couple of weeks...
OBAMA
Confidence in Obama, and in the Economy, Declines (By NATE SILVER, NY Times/FiveThirtyEight) Three groups in particular stand out for having especially large declines. First is what Gallup terms “pure independent” voters, among whom Mr. Obama’s approval rating has dropped by 10 points since the start of the year. These pure independents are true swing voters; Gallup defines the category to exclude the many voters who call themselves independent but in fact lean toward one or another party and behave like partisans.


Michael Bloomberg: The "Man"? Hmmm...


BLOOMBERG
Could Bloomberg be the man? (Jewish Chronicle) He is a supporter of Israel and of Jewish causes but once remarked that, while he was happy to be a Jew, it didn't make him better or worse than anyone else: "You are what you are". He rarely discusses his faith. In other words, he's comfortably assimilated. And he personifies the American dream - the ordinary Joe, grandson of immigrants, who became a successful, self-made man.

Hot Summer, Volatile Political Scene in New York State


NEW YORK
  • Protesters surprise Meeks over debt vote; Pol calms fears of demonstrators (by AnnMarie Costella, Queens Chronicle) On a picturesque afternoon, the group — a combination of individuals from UnitedNY.org, New York Communities for Change and the Working Families Party — marched in front of Meeks’ office chanting slogans like “Help the poor and the needy, not the rich and the greedy,” and “This is what democracy looks like.” They also waved signs, some of which read “Protect Queens” and “Whose side are you on?”
  • Protestors in Harlem Rail Against Zimbabwe Sanctions and Libya Bombing (Bulawayo 24 News) Some of the organizing groups were the Nation of Islam, the December 12 Movement, the Freedom Party and many local organizations, most reflecting the Pan-African activist movement. Anti-imperialist organizations like the International Action Center also supported the event. Workers World Party members distributed thousands of newspapers and leaflets throughout the city to build for the action.
  • MATTER OF NEW YORK STATE COMM. OF INDEPENDENCE PARTY v. NEW YORK STATE BD. OF ELECTIONS ( Leagle.com) Re: Erie County Wilson Pakula authorization
  • MATTER OF McGRATH v. ABELOVE (Leagle.com) Re: Rensselaer County Wilson Pakula authorization
  • Bosworth loses Independence ballot line (JESSICA ABLAMSKY, The Island Now) Nassau County Legislator Judi Bosworth (D-Great Neck) was thrown off the Independence Party line for the Sept. 13 primary election after a successful lawsuit by her District 10 opponent, Republican Elizabeth Berney, a Great Neck resident who twice ran unsuccessful challenges against Congressman Gary Ackerman (D-Roslyn Heights).

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Rush Limbaugh v the field negro (no contest!)

From the field negro:

Poor Rush. The guy must be feeling really irrelevant these days. He is trying so hard to get a rise out of us black folks and it ain't even working. When a racism chaser like moi doesn't even feel motivated to take the bait you know he (Rush) has hit rock bottom.

Also see Elvis Presley...

parting of the ways


Why Independents Should Demand Internet Voting


What is an "Independent"? Lots of people are asking that question these days. Are Independents conservative or liberal? Are they closet Dems or closet Repubs? Are they more focused on public finance issues than on social issues? Are they moderates, or centrists? Is there such a thing as a political center in the US?

One empirical element shared by Independent identifiers is that they don't identify with either of the two major political parties, which currently dominate US elections and government. In this sense, Independents are not only alienated from the political system, they are excluded from it. They are not just passively unrepresented in our "representative government," they are deliberately ignored by our elected representatives. That is, of course, until those elected officials need their votes in the next two-party system election.

Thanks to modern electronic technology, this need not be.

Imagine this: You are watching candidates debate online or on TV. After each debate you log on to your state's secure voting website, using your own PC, cell phone, or other electronic device. Your voter registration is checked, and then the voting window comes up. You enter your rating of each debater's performance, from 0-9.

Suppose further that entry to the debates is open to everyone who wants to be considered by the voters, and that all candidates are eliminated through a series of such debates. Qualification for candidacy can be as it is now in states like California; i.e., fulfill the signature requirements, pay a filing fee, and you are on the ballot and in the debates.

In this scenario, it is the political parties that are excluded from the candidate selection and election process. Suppose there are a dozen candidates for an office. Two one hour debates can be held per evening. In three evenings all twelve can be heard, considered, and voted on by the electorate. The next week a final debate can be held between the top two, so that the candidate is supported by a majority of the voters.

Here is an election process that can be used for all local, state, and federal offices, with only minor changes in state laws. No constitutional amendment is required. Ballot access is 100% nonpartisan – an Independent's Heaven, right here on Earth. Because no self-serving political party will control the process, the locus of power will move to where it should be in a democracy – to the center of voter preferences.

This picture can become reality by demanding that your state government, state Secretary of State, and local election officials implement an Internet voting system organized along the lines I have suggested. In consideration for their sacrifices and service, you can also demand Internet voting for your state's overseas military personnel. (For more on that, and the opposition to it, see my post on Natalie Tennant here on The Hankster, at http://bit.ly/o65o1t, and cited on Rick Hasen's Election Law Blog, at http://electionlawblog.org/?cat=49 Also see the new "tough love" review of my book, Internet Voting Now! at http://is.gd/Sc5vch )


William J. Kelleher, Ph.D.
Internetvoting@gmail.com
Blog: http://tinyurl.com/IV4All
Face Book: http://tinyurl.com/BillonFB
Twitter: wjkno1
Internet Voting Explained on
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/WJKPhD


Independent Voters: Moderation Is Not the Solution


INDEPENDENT VOTERS
  • Less conformity is the answer (LETTER LA Times) Before we can truly liberate our vote from the corporate political parties, we must first liberate our thinking from people like Masket and Noel and base our vote on what we really want instead of what we believe others are going to do.
  • Where’s Howard Dean? (by Randy Shaw‚ Beyond Chron) Dean often claimed that he represented “the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party,” and was a hero to the progressive netroots. Yet at a time when President Obama is openly ignoring this “Democratic wing” while currying favor with “independents,” Dean is publicly silent over the president’s rightward shift.
  • President Obama's Tipping Point (By Reid Wilson, National Journal/On the Trail) Obama's high personal-favorability ratings show swing voters are rooting for him to succeed, while his low job-performance rating demonstrates they don't like where he's going so far. If Obama's favorability ratings start sinking to match his approval numbers, it may be a sign that those critical independent voters have washed their hands of his presidency.
  • With economy, poll numbers low, Obama asks voters to give him leverage (By Donovan Slack, Boston Globe)
  • Independents gain, while big parties lose voters in Arizona (By David Rookhuyzen/wick communications) Registered Republicans dropped by more than 3,000 voters since April, while Democrats hemorrhaged nearly 8,000 voters in the same period, the report showed. However, the number of independents, those registering without a party or with an unrecognized party, jumped by more than 13,000.

Open Primaries Changing California Politics


CALIFORNIA
We Sorta Liked It Then, But We Hate It Now (Santee Patch) And there is the 900-pound gorilla waiting in the wings for all current officeholders: That would be Proposition 14, approved by the voters in June 2010.

NY CD 9th Special: Turner Gaining on Weprin


NEW YORK
Weprin-Turner Race Tightens, Heats Up (John Toscano, Queens Gazette) Campaigning for the 9th CD special election on September 13 has turned into an extremely close contest and it appears the Democrats behind Assemblymember David Weprin are trying to tag Republican candidate Bob Turner as favoring cutbacks in Medicare and Social Security, which would swing the heavy senior citizen vote toward Weprin.

Roubini: Marx Was Right - Capitalism Can Destroy Itself


LAST WORD
Mainstream Economist: Marx Was Right. Capitalism May Be Destroying Itself (AlterNet) Wall Street Journal interview with Nouriel Roubini is a mainstream economist who teaches at New York University and may be best known as one of the early predictors of the '08 crash.  "Karl Marx had it right.  At some point, Capitalism can destroy itself.  You cannot keep on shifting income from labor to Capital without having an excess capacity and a lack of aggregate demand.  That's what has happened."

Friday, August 12, 2011

hey, congress! 40 percent of americans are independents!

independentvoting.org

Imagine an American Political System That Includes Independents


INDEPENDENT VOTERS
  • Brian Dickerson: From Lansing to D.C., the middle is being marginalized (Detroit Free Press) Imagine an America where the typical citizen feels little allegiance to either political party but recognizes that each has some worthwhile ideas for reigniting economic growth and shrinking the nation's debt.
  • Poll: Obama Is Losing Independents (By Danny Yadron, Wall Street Journal/Washington Wire) The poll comes as GOP presidential candidates gather in Ames, Iowa, Thursday night for their second major debate. A survey of Hawkeye State voters released Wednesday shows only 32%  of independents approve of Mr. Obama’s job performance, while 61% disapprove. American Action Network, a conservative campaign group, commissioned the poll.

Americans Elect Could Help Produce Innovative Political Solutions


AMERICANS ELECT
Alternative Presidential Convention Emerges Online (Written by Michael Mascioni, Internet Evolution) One of the key shortcomings of the Presidential political campaign is the limited exposure given by the national media to truly innovative political solutions and politicians. In this light, it would be particularly helpful if Americans Elect afforded users a greater opportunity to explore and contribute to such solutions.

Colorado Considers Chaning Election Rules for Write-In Votes


BALLOT CHANGES
Colorado officials considering ballot changes (CBS5 - Cheyenne - Scottsbluff) Secretary of State Scott Gessler is proposing changes to election rules that would bar clerks from counting ballots with write-in candidates if voters fail to mark the box next to that choice. The issue arose last year after former Rep. Kathleen Curry ran as a write-in candidate...

New Yorkers Want Independent Redistricting; Pedro Espada Fights State Efforts to Close Soundview


NEW YORK
  • Poll: More Women Pols = Fewer Shenanigans (BY Celeste Katz, Daily News/Daily Politics) The poll also found that 50% of state voters wanted an independent commission to draw new district lines for congressional and state legislative seats, 13% wanted the state Legislature to continue to do it and 26% wanted and independent redistricting commission with some input from lawmakers.
  • Espada Vows Funding Fight (By SUMATHI REDDY And PERVAIZ SHALLWANI, Wall Street Journal) More than 75 community members and clinic board members gathered at a news conference Tuesday in the Bronx to support Mr. Espada, who accused Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a fellow Democrat, of using the clinics in a political fight against him.
  • Pedro Espada, Jr: Soundview Clinics Not Closing (Updated) (BY Celeste Katz, Daily News/Daily Politics) “It is our stance that Mr. Cuomo has a personal vendetta to wage against Mr. Espada and we recognize that Mr. Cuomo has a personal stake in this as he brought the charges against Mr. Espada while he served as attorney general, but now he wants to act as judge and jury and as a destroyer of vital health services,” Soundview spokesman Rachel Fasciani said later.
  • Espada gets ill will - Medicaid dumps Bx. scandal clinic (By FREDRIC U. DICKER, State Editor, NY Post) In a letter to Soundview board chairwoman Constance Bruno, the Health Department noted that the clinic's Medicaid service delivery system was managed by Espada and his son, Pedro G. Espada, both of whom were excluded from participation in the Medicaid program by Medicaid Inspector General James Cox earlier this year.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lenora Fulani: Fred Newman, 1935-2011 - Partner in Liberation (NY Amsterdam News)


A remembrance: Fred Newman, 1935-2011
Posted: Sunday, August 7, 2011 12:00 am
By DR. LENORA B. FULANI
NY Amsterdam News

On Sunday, July 3, Dr. Fred Newman died at the age of 76. I spent more than 30 years of my life with Fred, and he was a very dear friend, comrade and mentor.

I first met Fred in the late 1970s when I was a doctoral student in developmental psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center, looking for a psychology of empowerment that could impact on the suffering and sorrow of Black Americans. I grew up in Chester, Pa., and understood the devastating consequences of being Black and poor.

Fred took seriously my concern that traditional psychology and education were very limited in their capacity to help poor people with the pain of poverty. He told me that to accomplish what I wanted to do, I had to get smarter, and he insisted that I bring the most sophisticated tools of post-modern philosophy to the ordinary people of our communities. He sent me "back to school" in East New York.

Fred grew up in the predominantly Jewish, working-class Southeast Bronx in the 1930s. He served in the U.S. Army in Korea, then graduated from City College and earned a Ph.D. in analytic philosophy at Stanford University. After teaching at several colleges and universities, Fred left academia during the height of the anti-Vietnam War movement to become a community organizer. Over 40 years' time, together with a vibrant collective of activists, psychologists, educators, artists and fundraisers, he went on to found the All Stars Project and a new brand of psychology called social therapy. He became a leading force in the independent political movement, fighting for the inclusion of Black people in that movement every step of the way.

In the Black community, Fred was known for many things. He created the development approach to performance and learning used at the All Stars. The young people at the All Stars, especially those who got to work directly with him, adored him. He was the campaign manager for my two independent presidential bids. He was an early ally of the Rev. Al Sharpton, joining him in many a march and rally anywhere from Bensonhurst, to upstate New York, to London. He drove Rev to the hospital on the bitter January day in 1991 when he was stabbed.

Fred was known as my partner in liberation. In less polite terms, he was sometimes referred to as "Fulani's white guru." Some of the more "politically correct" Black leaders in the city criticized me for working with Fred because he was white. I never cared about those critics. I knew I was lucky to have found him.

Everyone who knew Fred experienced his rigor and brilliance as a scientist. They also experienced the depth of Fred's caring.

I was not only close to Fred in my work; he was also an active partner in helping to raise my son, making it possible for me to be there for Amani even in the most challenging of times. He helped me with the anxiety that every Black mother feels every time our sons step out into the world: the fear that an altercation with other youth or a police officer might result in injury, incarceration or death. Fred showed me how to support Amani and to not let my worries turn me into just another person in his life giving him a hard time. That made it possible for Amani to come to me when there was a real crisis. A few months before Fred died, he thanked me for giving him the opportunity to share in raising Amani. I just gave him a hug.

Thank you, Fred, for the many holidays you've shared with Amani and Ainka, and for sending Amani to baseball camp, where he learned to make his way with strangers and made lifelong friends.

Thank you for sharing with them, with me and with the Black community the history of the Jewish people and the historical importance of Black-Jewish relationships.

Thank you for being such a fierce and brilliant fighter. And thank you for teaching ordinary people that we have the capacity to build and create extraordinary things.

May you rest in peace, and may those of us whom you have organized and led continue to lead.

institutional

PHOTO: Cathy Stewart

North Carolina Gives Structural Advantage to Unpopular Party


NORTH CAROLINA
Dismal numbers for NC GOP...but a structural advantage (Public Policy Polling) The Republican legislators are extremely unpopular- but one of their unpopular actions could leave them in power for years to come.

Jim Foster Takes on The Parties in Philadelphia


PHILADELPHIA
Jim Foster files counter challenge to Brian Rudnick's nominating petitions (By Alan Tu, WHYY NEWSNETWORKS) Independent City Council candidate Jim Foster says his rival Brian Rudnick is not who he says he is. Brian Rudnick filed to run as the "Green Party" candidate but Foster, an independent candidate, says Rudnick is not the Greens' nominee. "He used them as his party, during the whole process of filing his petitions, to make people think that the Green Party had endorsed him," Foster said.

Structural Political Reform, Not Third-Party Dictator, is What Independents Want

Q: Why on earth would a disgruntled independent join a political party?
A: They wouldn't.

UPDATED 12:50PM
See Damon Eris at Poli-Tea A Conscientious Objection to Political "Science"   Of course, there is nothing "natural" about the dictatorship of the two-party state.  It is a wholly artificial construct created and maintained by self-interested lawmakers whose loyalty lies, first and foremost, with the Democratic and Republican parties themselves.  The assertion that the ruling two-party state is a "natural" or "organic" phenomenon is nothing more than obscurantist, metaphysical nonsense.

2012
  • Don't look to a third-party candidate - An independent nominee would have no chance of winning the presidency — and even after a win would be stymied from the start. (By Seth Masket and Hans Noel, LA Times) If you're not content with the way this country is being governed, one of the best ways to change it is to get involved with one of the existing parties and work to nominate and elect candidates at all levels of government who will fight for the things you care about. Odds are, one of the parties will want much of what you want. Pining for an independent, third-party dictator is not only a waste of your time, but if you somehow got what you wanted, you'd quickly find it wasn't what you wanted at all.
  • Capturing the Disgruntled Independent Vote (MP3 AUDIO - WNYC/The Take Away) Audio report features Jackie Salit and independentvoting.org and Ted Downing
  • National Popular Vote (Debra J. Saunders, Town Hall) California Gov. Jerry Brown believes that "the occupant of the White House should be the candidate who wins the most votes." On Monday, he signed a bill that could hand the state's 55 electoral votes not to the candidate who wins California, but to the candidate who wins the most votes nationally.




Harry Kresky: America's Democracy Deficit


S&P DOWNGRADE
  • America's Other Deficit (Harry Kresky, Huffington Post) Partisanship is not a psychological illness. It is imbedded in the very structure of our political system. When times are good and the economy is growing, short term compromise (if not long term planning) can be achieved. When they are not, the ability of the political system to navigate tricky waters becomes less and less stable, more and more partisan.
  • Mayor Michael Bloomberg: 'We Have to Get Behind the President' (George Stephanopoulos, ABC News/George's Bottom Line) “And there can always be a third party candidate. But in the end if you take a look at what happened in the last election, and when people talk about third party candidates and say ‘Well they don’t have a chance so I got to go and pick the lesser of two evils of the major parties.’”
  • Johnston: Michael Bloomberg is a real cure for what ails us (By James Johnston, Milford Daily News - MA) In the 1960s, I was young and idealistic as was most of the rest of my generation. We knew what was going on and changed most of the things we didn't like in our society. Maybe we could not do the whole job of saving our world, but at least we made ourselves heard and did a substantial job of real reform. We ended a war, removed a corrupt president from office and secured civil rights for all of the citizens of this nation against awful opposition from the entrenched forces of the conservative right... Are there no idealistic and practical leaders around today? Yes there is at least one, and as mayor of New York, he is in plain sight...


Sarah Lyons: Rank Partisanship Poisoning Our Political Process


NEW YORK

And Now a Word From IndependentVoting.org Networks


IndependentVoting.org Networks in the News:
  • S&P DOWNGRADE: America's Other Deficit (Harry Kresky, Huffington Post) Partisanship is not a psychological illness. It is imbedded in the very structure of our political system. When times are good and the economy is growing, short term compromise (if not long term planning) can be achieved. When they are not, the ability of the political system to navigate tricky waters becomes less and less stable, more and more partisan.  
  • 2012: Capturing the Disgruntled Independent Vote (MP3 AUDIO - interview with Anna Sale, WNYC/The Take Away) Audio report features Jackie Salit and independentvoting.org and Ted Downing 
  • NEW YORK: Rank partisanship poisons our political process (LETTER Staten Island Advance, By SARAH LYONS) Recently I was in front of Pathmark with a fellow Independent, talking to shoppers about what’s going on in Washington with the budget debate. Across the board — Democrat, Republican, independent — everyone we spoke with was deeply concerned about the partisanship that has come to define our political process.

The Politics of Independent Voters

Featuring Jackie Salit of independentvoting.org and Ted Downing, with No Labels and Americans Elect speakers...

Capturing the Disgruntled Independent Vote
Thursday, August 11, 2011
MP3 AUDIO
WNYC/The Take Away



Independent voters were a key part of the coalition that elected Barack Obama in 2008. But President Obama has lost the support of many of those independents, throughout his term. As potential candidates begin to prepare for the 2012 presidential election, the hunt is on to try to capture the independent vote.

Anna Sale, reporter for It's A Free Country, the politics website for our co-producer WNYC, has been talking to those coveted independent voters around the country and the different groups that are trying to court them.
Guests: Anna Sale
Produced by: Sitara Nieves

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

we the people need to

PHOTO: Cathy Stewart

Independents Need to Be Heard


INDEPENDENT VOTERS
  • An independent view of the budget debate, partisanship ([presumably by Linda Ricke], Tampa Bay Online) Two weeks ago I received a call from Fox News asking me to be a guest on a segment about independent voters. They wanted my reaction to the budget negotiations. I agreed to be on the show, even though the thought of being on national TV terrified me. I agreed because I simply could not turn down the opportunity to let the voice of independents be heard.
  • Fox News clip of independents talking about the debt crisis VIDEO
  • Time for Independents to walk the walk in 2012 (by Damon Eris, CAIVN) If Independents desire adequate representation in government, as opposed to the automatic reproduction of the two-party political status quo, they are going to have to demand it by supporting alternatives to the Republicans and Democrats. 2012 is right around the corner.
  • Record-Low 21% Say Most in Congress Deserve Re-Election (by Jeffrey M. Jones, Gallup) Independent voters are especially critical of Congress, with 14% saying most members deserve re-election, compared with 24% of Republican and 26% of Democratic voters. Democrats and independents are significantly less likely now than in May (36% and 23%, respectively, at that time) to endorse re-electing most members of Congress, while Republicans (26% in May) show only a minimal decline.



California Top Two Open Primary May Bring Bigger Cultural Changes Than Elimination of Partisan Gerrymadering


CALIFORNIA
November 2012 Targets - Part One: The Assembly (By Allan Hoffenblum, Publisher of the California Target Book and owner of Allan Hoffenblum & Associates, Fox & Hounds Daily) Somewhat surprising, it's beginning to appear that the top-two open primary may do more to change the culture in Sacramento than the elimination of the partisan gerrymandering.


Wisconsin Special Election Recalls Recall Election


WISCONSIN
Milwaukee Recall Election Stirs Passions, Tough Fight (By David Moberg, In These Times) Turn-out is expected to be relatively high, especially for a special election in August, as it has been in primaries where Democrats like Pasch had to defeat fake Democratic contenders put up by Republicans, who urged supporters to take advantage of Wisconsin open primaries to vote for the fakes.

Democrat Files Petition Challenge Against Independent for Philadelphia City Council Seat


PHILADELPHIA
Cindy Bass files petition challenge against Jim Foster (By Alan Tu, WHYY NewsWorks) All three candidates are running for Councilwoman Donna Reed Mlller's seat. Miller is not running for re-election.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Burr Deming on Independent Voters: Fair and Unbalanced


Nancy Hanks at The Hankster still embraces independent voters as the key to a better national future. She presents voting results in California as evidence..." by Burr Deming's Fair and Unbalanced

The independent and moderate voters in California took matters into their own hands during the last general election and passed Proposition 14, which allows independents to vote for any candidate during the primary election. Proposition 20, which will replace the current gerrymandered district boundaries so incumbents are no longer guaranteed re-election, was also passed.

Building the Arsenal of Political Reform: Proportional Representation and Internet Voting

POLITICAL REFORM
  • The best way to fight the two-party monopoly (By Michael Lind, SALON) Most of the world’s democracies have adopted one or another version of proportional representation (PR), an electoral system that more or less accurately reflects the diversity of political views among the country’s citizens. Unfortunately, from 18th century Britain the U.S. inherited the older, less representative system called plurality voting or "first past the post" voting.
  • Natalie Tennant: Internet Voting Profile in Courage (by William J. Kelleher, Ph.D., The Hankster) Just as in the military, a Secretary of State, or any public official, deserves praise whenever they show courage under fire. Tennant showed this courage when she went ahead with her Internet voting trial for overseas military voters. As she stated on the WV SOS website. "The members of our military are putting their lives on the line every day … I thought it was extremely important to make sure they had secure access to an online ballot. We had to make sure their voice was heard."