Friday, September 30, 2011

99% Satisfied w/ Internet Voting in Canada

Hello Independents!

Fear NOT! Lets take the lead on Internet voting!

Here in the USA there is a strong opposition to Internet voting. But they have NO FACTS to support the scary stories they tell about what “might” or “could” go wrong. Here is a report that gives FACTS about the successes of Internet voting.

We Independents can learn a lot from this report. I hope US companies will show this report to the state Secretaries of State and local election officials. Hopefully, such factual information will help Americans to overcome the baseless fear that now stymies the progress of Internet voting in the USA. Read more at, http://tinyurl.com/IntV-Facts


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

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

President Obama and the Independents

Once again, I would caution Pres. Obama to read between the lines when it comes to how independent voters are characterized in the US press. Independents created our country. They were called revolutionaries then.

OBAMA
  • Obama leans further left (By MICHAEL GOODWIN, NY Post) One of the enduring mysteries of the Obama presidency is why he keeps leaning far left when independent voters make it clear they want a centrist in the White House. It is not an academic point -- independents swung the 2008 election his way, and without them, Obama probably can’t win a second term
  • Obama Draws New Hard Line on Long-Term Debt Reduction (By JACKIE CALMES, NY Times) In this new phase, Mr. Obama must solidify support among Democrats by standing pat for progressive party principles, while trusting that a show of strong leadership for the policies he believes in will appeal to independents. Polls consistently suggest that perhaps the only thing that unites independents as much as their desire for compromise is their inclination toward leaders who signal strength by fighting for their beliefs.


Mayor Bloomberg Might Testify in Haggerty Case


NEW YORK

Monday, September 19, 2011

John Avlon: Closed Primaries Too Easily Hijacked by Ideologes and Partisan Hacks


OPEN PRIMARIES
  • Christine O'Donnell: Exhibit A for getting rid of closed primaries (By John Avlon, CNN Contributor) The lesson: Closed partisan primaries are fundamentally unrepresentative. They're too easily hijacked by ideological activists and party hacks beholden to special interests. And because these local primaries are the gauntlet that candidates have to run, they lead directly to the culture of hyperpartisanship that now threatens to paralyze our capacity for effective self-government.
  • Primaries now 'the elections' (LETTER Clarion Ledger) Whether it's called "open primaries," or just equal right to vote by everyone, we need a system that gives everyone an equal voice, rather than independents being shut out of the "primaries" where most officials are chosen, and then have to pick between two party hacks in the general election.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Pitfalls of Party Loving Political Scientists

Recently two well known political scientists Norman J. Ornstein and Thomas E. Mann have chided columnists Matt Miller and Tom Friedman for calling for a third-party, or independent, candidate for president. The two scholars urge that the American people continue their co-dependent relationship with the two-party system. They acknowledge that this relationship is "dysfunctional," but only offer their "dismay" as to why it is that way.

Their sage advice is that an Independent presidential candidate is a bad idea; in their words, pure "Fuhgeddaboudit," which is a technical term for bull shit. But in sharing their wisdom, they completely disregard the contrary advice of our Founders.

As I show in Chapter Two of my recent book, Internet Voting Now!, among the most important original objectives of the Framers, or authors, of the US Constitution, was to fashion a government that could not be taken over by political parties. Generally, our nation's Founding Fathers abhorred political parties. They regularly referred to parties as "factions." They knew from their own experience that political parties put the party's self-interests, such as winning elections and obtaining privileged legislation, before the best interests of the people as a whole. Wary of such organizations, they sought to establish a system of government that would always strive to act in the best interests of the whole country.

John Marshall, who some say is the greatest Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, wrote, in a letter to his brother, that party politics are "despicable in the extreme... Nothing, I believe, more debases or pollutes the human mind than faction."

Another independent thinker, Thomas Jefferson, had a deep contempt for political parties. A friend once asked Jefferson if he considered himself a member of any political party. Jefferson replied, that "[I have] never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all."

With amazing prescience John Adams wrote, "There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties … This … is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution."

Hamilton was contemptuous of parties, in part, and like Jefferson, because they could corrode an individual's sense of civic morality. Hamilton wrote that a "spirit of faction" can drive individuals to do together that "for which they would blush in a private capacity."

Lets not forget the warning of our first president, who said in his Farewell speech that political parties could "become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government…"

As a nation we goofed. We have lost the way our Founders set for us. But instead of one faction dominating the whole, we have a two-party system, which is a malignant parasite on the body politic. Now, as Americans Elect comes along with a slim hope of breaking the grip that parasite has on the presidential election process, these two highly eurdite professors of political science come along with their "collective wisdom."

But instead of being wise, they ask the most pathetic question conceivable in light of our Constitution's original intentions; that is, "Even if an independent did prevail, how would he or she govern?"

The answer is that he or she would govern as the Constitution intended – without the interference of factions! Party loving political scientists have lost the capacity to see that the two-party system smears over the separation of powers originally intended by the Constitution's Framers. They take the smear – Party Government – as the summum bonum of American politics. But just those few quotes from the Founders should be enough to show how wrong they are. The highest good for American politics is not party government, it is Constitutional government, with a separation of powers rather than a smearing together of powers by private self-serving groups.

While Americans Elect is not free of flaws, at least they are making an effort to break off the co-dependent relationship between the American people and the two-party system. We Independents should reject the advice of party lovers, and give our full support to AE.

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


Notes:
Marshall, http://tinyurl.com/MarshallBio, page 410
Jefferson, http://etext.virginia.edu/jefferson/quotations/jeff0800.htm
Adams, http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/John_Adams
Hamilton, Fed 15, http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/fed.asp
Washington, http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/washing.asp

baltimore


Baltimore Sun: Top Two Might Fix Baltimore's Broken Primary System


OPEN PRIMARIES
Fixing Baltimore's broken primary (EDITORIAL Baltimore Sun) There are plenty of other models for how to run an election so that it more accurately reflects the will of the people than the strict party system we have here. An intriguing idea is the one recently enacted in California; there, the top two vote getters in the primary (regardless of party affiliation) square off in the general election. It's worth considering. Other ideas, such as proportional representation and run-off elections, could better engage voters and provide elected officials with a clearer mandate.

How About A Third Party?





THIRD PARTY
  • The pitfalls of a third-party candidacy (By Norman J. Ornstein and Thomas E. Mann, Washington Post Opinions) First, a third candidate can end up tilting the contest toward another candidate. In 2012, the nightmare scenario for us would be angry or demoralized independents and discouraged centrist Republicans gravitating toward the third candidate, enabling a far-right Republican nominee to prevail with a narrow electoral majority or with a plurality followed by a win in a deeply divided House. (Americans Elect, to its credit, has tried to draft electoral rules so that, in the plurality scenario, its electors would pledge to vote for the most centrist or reasonable major-party nominee.)
  • Ron Paul: Why Do Underdog Candidates Run for President? (By Palash R. Ghosh, International Business Times) Probably the biggest challenge to third-party candidates is the electoral rules of the major parties or state electoral laws. The Bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, a committee of representatives from both parties tasked with organizing general election debates, has mostly ignored the inclusion of third-party candidates unless there is enough support from the media and the public for their inclusion. 

Round-Up From Tuesday Special Elections in New York


NEW YORK
  • Opinion: Special Elections Show the Waning Power of the Party (By Justin Krebs, WNYC/It's a Free Blog) The Democratic Party in New York City should feel like it's being challenged on all sides -- because it is. This isn't just about sinking poll numbers on a national level, though that doesn't help.  It's about transforming loyalties in local and state politics.
  • Working Families Party and Green Party Both Set New Record for New York Legislative Nominees (Ballot Access News) Gonzalez’ showing is the best ever for a New York WFP nominee for the legislature.
  • NY-9: Winners and Losers (By Alex Isenstadt, NBC-NY from Politico) LOSERS: Downstate Democrats – With New York losing two seats in reapportionment, Weiner’s vacant seat was a perfect target for elimination – a way for Democrats tasked with redrawing the state’s congressional map to protect long-serving incumbents. But with the seat now in GOP hands, the ripple effect is that a downstate Democratic incumbent could now be axed.
  • GIANARIS BILLS STRENGTHEN VOTING PROCESS (John Toscano, Queens Gazette/I On Politics) •S 1972 allows for Election Day Voter Registration so new voters can register to vote up to Election Day itself.
  • Mayor To Testify In Haggerty Trial? (John Toscano, Queens Gazette/I On Politics)
  • Democrats vow to pursue Medicare message after N.Y. and Nevada losses (By Felicia Sonmez and Paul Kane, Washington Post/2chambers) The main problem, Burton said, is that too many Democrats are not taking the Republican field seriously given some of the positions candidates have staked out - on Social Security and Medicare, for example - that could turn off crucial independent voters.
  • The Rise of Democratic Discontent - After this week's election defeats, unhappiness with the president is sure to build. (By KARL ROVE, Wall Street Journal) Mr. Obama's main political challenge between now and November 2012 is winning back independent voters. After voting for him by a 52-to-44 margin in 2008, only 41% approve of his job performance and only 34% approve of his handling of the economy in the latest Resurgent Republic Poll. On big issues, independents look a lot more like Republicans than Democrats.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Where are the Independent strongholds in California's political landscape?


CALIFORNIA TOP TWO
California's Independent strongholds and the political calculus of the top-two open primary (by Damon Eris, CAIVN) One might easily conclude that two Democrats would be assured the top two spots in the primary and head to the general election, since it is a Democratic majority district.  But, if there were a Democratic favorite supported by half of all registered Democrats, with the rest of the district's Democrats more or less equally supporting the other five Democrats in the race, the Republican, Independent or third party candidate could easily advance to the general election with as little as 8-10% support in the primary, depending on how the district's Independents vote.  It is for this precise reason that the state's Democratic and Republican parties are considering holding caucuses or conventions prior to any such primary elections, to nominate the candidate who would be the "official" representative of the party at those elections and hopefully avoid splitting their party's vote.

NY-9 Special Election Goes to Bob Turner


NEW YORK
SPECIAL ELECTION RESULTS: Ninth Congressional District (City Hall News)
  • Ninth Congressional District: Bob Turner 54%, David Weprin 46%
  • 23rd Assembly District: Phil Goldfeder 54%, Jane Deacy 46%
  • 27th Assembly District: Michael Simanowitz 76%, Marco DeSena 24%
  • 54th Assembly District: Rafael Espinal 44%, Jesus Gonzalez 32%, Deidra Towns 23%
  • 73rd Assembly District: Dan Quart 66%, Paul Niehaus 34%
  • 116th Assembly District: Anthony Brindisi 57%, Gregory Johnson 43%
  • 144th Assembly District: Sean Ryan 71%, Sean Kipp 21%
  • 28th City Council District: Ruben Wills 67%, Allan Jennings 17%, Michael Duvalle 11%, Clifton Stanley Diaz 6%
  • After Weprin Loss, Queens Democratic Party Faces Hard Questions (By Adam Lisberg, City Hall News) Yet within Democratic circles, Republican Bob Turner’s surprise 8-point victory over Assemblyman David Weprin was a harsh judgment on the Queens Democratic Party, which picked Weprin, assumed he would win easily in a district with a 3-1 Democratic tilt, and failed to react when Turner’s campaign caught fire. “They picked a candidate, rested on their laurels and wrote off Brooklyn,” said a frustrated Democratic elected official, one of many who gave up on the Queens Democratic Party’s efforts long before Election Day.
  • CANDIDATE COLLEGE: A NEW YORK CIVIC ENGAGEMENT EVENT (Co-Sponsored by Common Cause New York, Women’s City Club of New York, and New Roosevelt, Media Sponsors: City Hall & The Capitol)
  • Koch’s reapportionment plan is dead (LETTER Queens Courier) Although a majority of state legislators actively endorsed former Mayor Koch’s call for an independent legislative redistricting process, this is not what we got. Where are the voices that promised an independent redistricting commission? Of course, nowhere to be found now that the two parties begin drawing district lines that will insure the re-election of these politicians over the next 10 years? When we elect the same people, time and time again, why should we expect different results?
  • Democratic Party Pick Wins Brooklyn Race (By LIZ ROBBINS, NY Times) The Democratic machine whirred and then roared in northern Brooklyn on Tuesday, churning out a significant victory for Rafael L. Espinal in a fiercely contested three-way race for the 54th State Assembly District seat.
  • Republican Wins N.Y. Democrat Weiner's House Seat (by Joel Rose, NPR) "There may be some people that are voting against Weprin because they think they're voting against Obama," said Greg Stein of Forest Hills. "I don't buy it. I don't see that connection well at all." Stein thinks voters in the district are angry about the economy, not the president's foreign policy.
  • Is the Republican Win in New York a Sign? (By MICHAEL D. SHEAR, NY Times/The Caucus) But drawing broad conclusions from elections in districts of about 600,000 people — especially when only a small fraction of those turn out to vote — can be tricky.

Troy Davis Set to be Executed 9/21/2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

step right up


Pew Research: Partisan Ideology (A Philosophical Shell Game)

Moderate. Liberal. Conservative. Republican. Democrat. Independent.  With choices like these, who's to say what the Pew Research poll means! What does it mean to say you are a liberal or a conservative? What does it mean to say you are a Republican, Democrat or independent? And what does it mean to derive meaning from polls?

THE PARTIES
More Now See GOP as Very Conservative - Views of Parties' Ideologies (Pew Research) Nearly half of independents (47%) say their political views are moderate, about the same as last year. The remainder tilt conservative, with 33% saying they are either conservative (29%) or very conservative (4%); 17% say their views are either liberal (14%) or very liberal (3%).

Recommended chaser:
Whereas modernist conversation required a grounding in epistemological claims about why we think and feel the way we do when we try to influence each other, Newman and Holzman see that view of language as a kind of "aboutness" and as limiting. In contrast, they propose a view of language as something we perform in relationships, and they take readers beyond John Shotter's position that all meaning-making conversation occurs in a context of justification and argumentation. They suggest, instead, that new meaning is best created in a shared performance of meaning, and they discourage recitations or negotiation of meanings that we bring from our prior forms of "knowing". --  A Review of Fred Newman and Lois Holzman's The End of Knowing, By Tom Strong, Division of Applied Psychology at the University of Calgary

Today's NY-9 Special Election a Partisan Conundrum


NEW YORK
  • Special Election! So What’s So Special? (By CLYDE HABERMAN, NY Times/City Room) The ballot choices on Tuesday come courtesy of the leaders of the major parties, who could not bear the idea of letting people in that Brooklyn-Queens district choose their candidates in open primaries.
  • Anti-Gay Marriage Forces Converge On NY-9 (By Adam Lisberg, City Hall News) The TV ads and the big endorsements are trying to make today’s special election in the Ninth Congressional District a referendum on President Barack Obama, Republican budget cuts and Israel – but a low-profile campaign among Orthodox Jews aims to make it about same-sex marriage.
  • Dems fear loss in N.Y. House race (By: Alex Isenstadt, Politico) In a room adorned with pictures of Queens County Democratic power players, including Rep. Joe Crowley, the party chairman, and the late Rep. Thomas Manton, a row of desks is stacked with get-out-the-vote materials, organized in manila envelopes by neighborhood — part of what Weprin officials describe as a sophisticated Election Day operation. The campaign says it has 1,000 workers and by Tuesday will have contacted more than 200,000 voters — some more than once. With the assistance of the organized labor-backed Working Families Party, Democrats plan to target around 60,000 labor households. 
  • Pols: Vito’s a geezer freezes (By Aaron Short, The Brooklyn Paper) Good government groups call the practice “objectionable.” “Seniors should not be walled off from the world for political reasons or any other,” said Common Cause’s Susan Lerner. “Seniors want company, they want to feel a part of current events.”

Unraveling New York State Independence Party With John Haggerty



  • NYC mayor: Victim in political operative's trial? (Associated Press, Wall Street Journal) While the party isn't charged, prosecutors have said in a lawsuit that the party knew or should have known about Haggerty's alleged scam. The lawsuit seeks to force the party and Haggerty to forfeit the money he allegedly stole; for now, the suit has prompted a civil court judge to freeze one of the party's accounts last winter.
  • Setback in Bloomberg Case (By MICHAEL HOWARD SAUL, Wall Street Journal) Mayor Michael Bloomberg knew he wouldn't control the spending of more than $1 million he gave the New York State Independence Party for the 2009 election, a defense attorney for a political operative accused of stealing the mayor's money argued Monday. State Supreme Court Justice Ronald Zweibel dealt Manhattan prosecutors a setback by denying their motion to bar the defense from making that argument at the trial of the operative, John Haggerty.
  • Bloomberg recovers in Quinnipiac poll (By ALEXANDER BURNS, Politico) Incidentally, the path for Bloomberg — or any wealthy, moderate independent — to run for president has always involved President Obama tanking and the Republicans nominating someone with drastically limited appeal. So the conditions for a serious third-party run haven't faded, even if the prospect of finding a viable candidate has.
  • Is Independence Party’s influence waning? (By ELIZABETH COOPER, Utica Observer-Dispatch) The Independence Party has taken a tumble from the coveted third line — directly below the Democratic and Republican parties — down to the fifth line.

Monday, September 12, 2011

America 2011: The public is having an economic crisis and the politicians are having an election


INDEPENDENT MOVEMENT
America Needs a Makeover (The Daily Beast, By Tony Dokoupil, MSNBC/PowerWall)  Interview with Tom Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum:

TF: Right now it's like the public is having an economic crisis and the politicians are having an election. There's almost no overlap between the two groups. It's like they're in a circle and we're in a circle. What that tells you is that the incentives—financial and political—don't correspond to the themes of the country.

Which is why you say the system needs a shock, perhaps from an independent third candidate.

MM: It's not going to correct itself with its own routine procedure. We think an independent candidate probably would not win, but would reveal the existence of a large constituency up for grabs between the Republicans and Democrats, and that would create incentives for each party to try to co-opt those voters by adopting some of those programs.

New York Politics: Haggerty, Turner, Weprin, Gonzalez and Towns


NEW YORK
  • Trial of ex-aide Haggerty, accused of pocketing $1 million from mayor, is still Bloomberg's problem (BY Melissa Grace and Erin Einhorn, DAILY NEWS) "The mayor violated [campaign finance rules], and Haggerty is going down for it," said one prominent campaign finance lawyer. "[Bloomberg] signed a form that said that he would only spend money on his campaign through his campaign committee....If [the money] wasn't for his campaign, then Haggerty couldn't have defrauded him."
  • Vito is a bloc 'blocker' (By AARON SHORT, NY Post) Jesus Gonzalez and Deidra Towns say the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Center, a Lopez-founded charity that manages several senior facilities in the district, has made it nearly impossible for them to meet constituents in those buildings.
  • Guide for the Last Minute Voter: 2011 Primary and Special Election (by Gotham Gazette) The political parties, though see this contest as a chance to show their strength -- or, more accurately, the other side's weakness – and have dumped in money and resources. Over the weeks, both candidate seem to have readily adopted the role as their party's standard-bearer. At a recent debate in Howard Beach -- complete with Tea Party hecklers and a pack of noisy Weprin backers in the rear of the church meeting room -- the two epitomized a left/right split.
  • Independence Party endorsements raise questions (By BRYON ACKERMAN, Utica Observer-Dispatch) Dozens of candidates will be on the Independence Party line in elections this year in Oneida County, but there have been questions about the nomination process used in two of the highest profile local races: the Assembly and the Utica mayoral races… Ernie Sanita is running for mayor on an independent line and said he wasn’t interested in screening with any political parties.
  • Turner up by six, just two days before New York special election (By Alexis Levinson, The Daily Caller) Turner has a strong lead with independent voters, 58 percent of whom say they will vote for him. Just 26 percent plan to vote for Weprin. Turner also has the majority of the Jewish vote, a demographic that makes up 36 percent of the district according to PPP’s results. Fifty-six percent of Jews say they will vote for Turner, while 39 percent say they have chosen Weprin.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

shaky freedom, fairness, violence, conflict and development in america

PHOTO: David Belmont

On Being a Muslim American Post 9-11


INDEPENDENT VOICES
August 'Gus' Preschel and Dr. Omar Ali (WFDD Voices & Viewpoints, Denise Franklin) Dr. Ali describes some of the challenges of being a Muslim American post 9-11.
 Listen (mp3) here.

CLEAN ELECTIONS
PSN 2011 Election Reform Roundup: Conservatives Push Voter Suppression Nationwide (Cristina Francisco-McGuire, Progressive States Network) Advocates such as Project Vote, Demos, ACLU, Lawyers’ Committee, and NAACP have also played a key role in defending democracy throughout the states. Not only have they filed challenges against legislation such as Florida’s Voter Suppression Act and Missouri’s voter ID ballot initiative, but lawsuits to ensure state agency compliance under the National Voting Rights Act (NVRA) have been refreshingly successful. In 2011 alone, lawsuits in Indiana and New Mexico resulted in settlements that reinforce the NVRA’s mandate that public assistance agencies offer voter registration materials to clients. Lawsuits in Louisiana and Georgia are ongoing, while advocates have filed notice in Michigan and Texas regarding similar NVRA violations.

235 Years Later, One Man (and Now Woman), One Vote Achieves Judicial Legitimacy in New York!

Congratulations to the minor party coalition Conservative Party, Working Families Party and the Taxpayers Party that brought the lawsuit that reviewed the double-count "glitch" --  it took a lawsuit to correct a computer glitch? Ahh, the world we live in!

NEW YORK

Illinois and South Carolina: Open Primaries Attract Independent Voters



OPEN PRIMARIES
  • House Freshmen Emerge as G.O.P. Power Brokers (By JENNIFER STEINHAUER, NY Times) Mr. Scott brings something else to the table: he is one of only two black Republicans in Congress right now, which candidates also see as a boon. “We hear all the time, ‘How are you going to reach out to the African-American vote?’ ” Mr. Connelly said. “I always tell people two words: Tim Scott. He has proved that conservatives have principles that are attractive to black Americans.” … While Mr. Perry and Mitt Romney are beginning to build their operations, Jon M. Huntsman Jr., the former governor of Utah, has the deepest and most professional infrastructure in the state, where he is hoping that the open primary system will attract more moderate voters to his cause. He was Mr. Scott’s first town hall guest, back in May.
  • Illinois Activist Launches Initiative to Convert Illinois Open Primary to a Secret Open Primary (Ballot Access News) Bill Clutter, a private investigator in Springfield, Illinois, is launching an initiative to change the Illinois open primary, from one in which primary voters must ask for one particular party’s primary ballot, to one in which primary voters in the secrecy of the voting booth choose one party’s primary ballot.

Colorado Independents: Partisan Drift or Closed Primary Strategy?

INDEPENDENT VOTERS
  • Unaffiliated-voter numbers in Colorado decline (By Kurtis Lee, The Denver Post) In August, active unaffiliated voters dropped to 29 percent, while Republicans rose to 37 percent and Democrats remained even at 33 percent.
  • FROM THIS PAST FEBRUARY -- Bill rejected that would open Colorado primaries to unaffilliated voters (By Lynn Bartels, The Denver Post) Unaffiliated voters still will have to declare themselves a Republican or a Democrat to vote in a Colorado primary. A House committee Thursday killed a bill that would have allowed unaffiliated voters to vote in primaries without having to give up their unaffiliated status.

Partisan Reactions to California Top Two Continue


CALIFORNIA TOP TWO
  • California State Appeals Court Hears Arguments over Injunctive Relief in Top-Two Details Lawsuit (Ballot Access News) On September 7, the California Court of Appeals in San Francisco heard arguments in Field v Bowen. The issue is two particular aspects of the California top-two system (Proposition 14), and whether the Superior Court should have granted injunctive relief in a special election earlier this year.
  • Lawmaker-residency bill dropped until 2012 (LA Times/PolitiCal) Jones said the bill was being held until 2012 in connection with other provisions in the measure that apply to California's new "open primary" system, which allows the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, to advance to the general election.
  • California Legislative Analysis Shows Election Administration-Related Problems Caused by Prop. 14 (Ballot Access News) The analysis also says, “This bill shortens the format in which a candidate’s party preference is displayed on the ballot, shortens and clarifies the ballot instructions that appear on the ballot, and eliminates certain type size and typeface requirements to give county elections officials greater flexibility to format their ballots. These changes should help address some of the concerns raised by elections officials in this committee’s oversight hearing.”
  • California push to change candidate residency laws scrapped (Sac Bee/Capitol Alert, Torey Van Oot) The current language for Assembly Bill 1413 was inserted into an existing bill just one week ahead of the scheduled end of the legislative session. But the effort was abandoned today, just hours after a scheduled hearing on the bill has been postponed, as supporters decided to hold off on action until next year.

Road to Hell Is Paved With Intentions


2012
  • Dems fret over Obama re-election (By Michael Barbaro, Jeff Zeleny and Monica Davey, New York Times in Sac Bee) To reassure nervous Democrats, the president's campaign aides are traveling the country with PowerPoint presentations that spell out Obama's path to re-election. Their pitch is that Obama's appeal has grown in traditionally Republican states like Arizona, where there are fast-growing Latino populations, and that Republicans have alienated independent voters with "extreme" positions on popular programs like Medicare.
  • Huntsman struggles to keep candidacy alive - The Utah Republican was a long shot from the beginning: He's tried to be the voice of reason in a field that has been courting the angry voter. In New Hampshire, he makes a last stand. (By Paul West, Washington Bureau, LA Times) Huntsman, scion of a wealthy Salt Lake City family, has distanced himself from the rest of the GOP field in an effort to appeal to moderates and independents. But he seems to be hawking a product for which there is no market.
  • Huntsman has $15 million to $66 million in assets (By Michael J. Bailey, Boston Globe) Considered a moderate, Huntsman has struggled to resonate with GOP voters. Focusing on the traditionally independent voters in the first primary state of New Hampshire, he has established one of the biggest campaign organizations ever there. Yet his poll numbers remain stuck in the single digits.
  • Huntsman discloses his personal wealth (By T.W. Farnam, Washington Post/Post Politics) The Huntsman campaign has been mired in the low single digits in polling throughout the Republican nomination contest. Huntsman has run toward the ideological middle, hoping to appeal to independents who can vote in open primaries like those in New Hampshire.
  • The election of 1992 could be harbinger of 2012 election (By Perry Mitchell, Special to the Coastal Point - DE) Any third-party candidate would face dynamic institutional barriers in winning the presidency. Duverger’s law from social sciences says that the plurality system existing in our congressional and presidential elections forces us into a two-party system, which is a huge barrier for a third-party candidate to overcome. The big challenge for our two-party system in 2012 will be how to accommodate the diverse views within its parties and nominate a centrist candidate. So far, the politics of 2010 and 2011 don’t show much promise that this will occur.
  • Larry Sabato Politics Column Shows Plausible Scenario for an Electoral College Tie in 2012 (Ballot Access News) Even with only two candidates receiving electoral votes, a tie could occur and then the U.S. House would choose the president, with each state having one vote.
  • Seemann Says: Ron Paul may be charismatic, but doesn’t understand science (By Chris Seemann, LSU Reveille) If the nation were striding up to an important impasse, could Paul be stubborn enough to stand his ground when Obama could not? Perhaps he would become frustrated enough to eschew pursuing another term for the purpose of making a stand. Whatever the case, the possibilities are intriguing.
  • The Road to Hell Is Paved with 'Electable' Candidates (By Joseph Ashby, American Thinker) The theory reminds me of when my mother observed that boys, in order to impress girls, tend to do things that impress other boys.  Similarly, politicos and pundits try to impress independents by doing things that other partisans perceive as independent.  But just as running fast, jumping high, and lifting heavy things often fail to impress would-be sweethearts on the second-grade playground, so too is the Establishment's premise often incorrect.

Obama, Tea Party, Jobs and Speeches


OBAMA
  • CNN analysts: Reaction to Obama jobs speech (From CNNPolitics.com) President Barack Obama on Thursday laid out his $447 billion economic plan before a joint session of Congress, saying that lawmakers should put the interests of the American people before politics.
  • Can Obama overcome D.C.'s partisan poison? (By John Avlon, CNN Contributor) John Avlon says a fired up President Obama was appealing to the middle class and small businesses. "He'll need to put forward an equally bold and bipartisan deficit reduction proposal, because the American Job Creation Act's estimated $450 billion price tag will provoke some rote "Stimulus II" criticism, and independent voters in particular have wised up to the fact that throwing federal money at a problem doesn't solve it."
  • Obama raps tea-party philosophy in jobs speech (Kathie Obradovich, Des Moines Register/Iowa Caucuses) Obama said most Americans don’t care about politics. But he was speaking to the ones who do, including independent voters who might be lured by the tea-party approach to government. Where would our country be today, he asked, if leaders of both parties had decided not to build our highways and railroads, or decided the federal government didn’t have the authority to create Social Security and Medicare?
  • Obama Challenges Congress on Job Plan (By MARK LANDLER, NY Times) “You should pass this jobs plan right away,” the president declared over and over in his 32-minute speech, in which he eschewed his trademark soaring oratory in favor of a plainspoken appeal for action, stiffened by a few sarcastic political jabs.

University of Louisville Candidate Forum Today September 11, 4-6pm


KENTUCKY
  • UofL sponsoring gubernatorial candidate forum this weekend [Colleges] (by Eve Lee, Louisville.com) This Sunday, September 11, candidates for Kentucky governor will speak at a public forum organized by the Yearlings Club-University of Louisville discussion series… Independent candidate Gatewood Galbraith and Kentucky Senate President and Republican nominee David Williams have accepted invitations to participate. 
  • Beshear Avoiding Debates With Williams (By Dan Roem, National Journal/Hotline) Last week, Beshear decided to pull the plug on a "Kentucky Tonight" appearance slated for Sept. 26 that is set to feature Williams and Galbraith.


The Politics of Charity


NEW YORK
Charity Probe Questions - State Inquiry Could Scrutinize Pay at Nonprofit Overseen by Governor's Sister (By JACOB GERSHMAN, Wall Street Journal) The agency paid its chief executive, Laurence Belinsky, $546,000 in 2008—including a $157,000 bonus—and $508,000 in 2009, according to IRS filings. His salary is more than 40% higher than the median salary of chief executives of nonprofits based in the Northeast with operating budgets of more than $13 million, according to Charity Navigator, a prominent charity database.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

we


2012 Is All About the Independents


INDEPENDENT VOTERS
  • The one word that must be added to Republicans' wristband (Charlotte Observer) Another Civitas poll last month found that independent N.C. voters blame both parties equally for the loss of the country's AAA credit rating. They view House Speaker John Boehner and Senate leader Harry Reid equally poorly, and rate President Obama higher than either. Civitas, one of the seasoned leaders in the statewide conservative movement, is wise to conduct a study that shows conservatives may return the reins of political power back to liberal Democrats if they don't form a political coalition with independent voters.
  • Democrats Bank on Buyers' Remorse in 'Steep' Climb to Win House (San Francisco Chronicle) Independent voters, a swing bloc that backed Democrats in 2006 and 2008 and turned away in 2010, are "fed up with Republicans who have consistently gone too far," Israel said.

Illinois State Senate Candidate Bill Clutter Initiates Open Primary Petition Drive


OPEN PRIMARIES
  • STATE SENATE CANDIDATE BILL CLUTTER ANNOUNCES SUPPORT FOR OPEN PRIMARY AMENDMENT - 48th District includes most of Macon County. (Decatur Tribune) “The secret ballot is a right that should be enjoyed by all citizens of Illinois, that includes the right to keep party affiliation secret”, said Clutter.
  • State senate candidate Clutter starts petition drive for open primary (By BERNARD SCHOENBURG, THE STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER) Rutan became the first signer of the petition at the news conference. Clutter said more than 298,000 signatures will be needed statewide. The Illinois Constitution allows amendments through citizen initiative only of the legislative article, so Clutter’s proposed amendment applies only to primary elections to choose General Assembly candidates.

Independents Don't Support Any Particular Economic Strategy


OBAMA
  • Aiming Economic Plans at Elusive Independents (By HELENE COOPER, NY Times) “When we look at it by party, what you see is that independents don’t stand out as supporting any particular strategy to a great degree,” said the director of the Pew Research Center poll, Andrew Kohut. “So there’s no one thing he can say that’s going to set off a light bulb among independents.” Rather, Mr. Kohut suggests, what Mr. Obama must do is try many proposals, “and if he gets blocked, go negative.”
  • Robert Gibbs Disputes Chris Matthews’ ‘Crazy, Unfounded Accusations’ Against President Obamavideo (by Tommy Christopher, Mediaite) Gibbs resisted the premise, steering his response around to the President’s relentless appeal to independent voters. “I don’t know that the President has really strong feelings on political labels on any side,” he said, before shifting the focus to Republicans’ opposition of measures they once supported, adding “Independents don’t want games.”

Political Parties Attempt to Undermine Top Two Election Reform in California


CALIFORNIA TOP TWO
  • Dan Walters: Fun, games mark California Legislature's final week (By Dan Walters, Sac Bee) • There's an 11th-hour flurry of efforts to alter election rules, including a still-unwritten bill sought by Democrats and unions to make all initiative measures go on the November ballot, and a newly written bill that would effectively end write-in votes for state offices, thus settling a legal issue over the impact of Proposition 14, the new "top-two" primary election system.
  • California State Senate to Vote on Abolishing Write-in Space on General Election Ballots on Wednesday, September 7 (Ballot Access News) The California Senate will vote on Wednesday, September 7, on AB 1413. The bill abolishes write-in space on California general election ballots for Congress and state office.
  • Political parties attempt to undermine open primary election reform in California (by Chad Peace, CAIVN) In an attempt to blunt the upcoming top-two open primary's ability to limit political party control over elections in California, the state Assembly is trying to change the way a candidate's political party appears on the ballot. Proposition 14, passed by the voters in 2010, changed the primary system to consolidate all of the candidates onto one ballot, with the top two vote getters advancing to the general election. Candidates are only required to list their party preference, allowing Independents to run with the ballot designation "no party preference." AB 1413 aims to undermine the reforms by changing "party preference" to "party affiliation," interjecting political party influence back into open primaries.

NY 9 - Conservative, Independence and Working Families Endorsments


NEW YORK
Race to Replace Weiner Down to the Wire (By NATE SILVER, NY Times/FiveThirtyEight) With that said, there is room to critique the poll: it was an automated survey conducted within a single 24-hour period, and it did not identify the additional ballot lines that the candidates are listed under, something that a pollster probably should do given New York’s fusion balloting. (Mr. Turner is also the nominee of the Conservative Party of New York, while Mr. Weprin has the endorsements of the Independence Party of New York and the Working Families’ Party.)

Education Reform: Failing Schools and How Pretending Can Help


EDUCATION REFORM
  • School ‘Reform’: A Failing Grade (Diane Ravitch, NY Review of Books) Because of its utopian goals, coupled with harsh sanctions, NCLB has turned out to be the worst federal education legislation ever passed. Recently, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan predicted that more than 80 percent of the nation’s public schools would be labeled “failing” this year by federal standards, including some excellent schools in which students (usually those with disabilities) were not on track to meet the target. By 2014, if the law is unchanged, very few public schools will not be labeled “failures.” No nation has ever achieved 100 percent proficiency for all its students, and no state in this nation is anywhere close to achieving it. No nation has ever passed a law that would result in stigmatizing almost every one of its schools. The Bush-era law is a public policy disaster of epic proportions, yet Congress has been unable to reach consensus about changing it.
  • "Here is an idea for solving the education crisis in America. What if all the kids currently failing in school pretended to be good learners? What if all the adults - teachers, principals, administrators, parents - played along and pretended that the kids were school achievers, heading for college? What if this national "ensemble" pretended this was the case day after day, classroom after classroom, school district after school district?" The All Stars Project has released a special report in which co-founders Fred Newman, Ph.D. and Lenora B. Fulani, Ph.D. put forth their solution to America's education crisis in a new white paper entitled "Let's Pretend".

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

salt of the earth

PHOTO: Sue Davies

Cure for Partisanship: Less Reality, More Artificiality

Note to Stuart Rotherberg: " The reality of our current politics of division and partisanship is not what many would prefer, but at least it is real." At least it's real?? With a reality like this, maybe we should try more artificiality. At least THAT we could live with!

OPEN PRIMARIES

  • Political Unity Peaked After Attacks (By Stuart Rothenberg, Roll Call) There are possible institutional changes that could produce more centrist elected officials — more open primaries, more states using commissions to draw Congressional and legislative district lines, a third political party in the center, for example — but those changes are difficult to bring about, and it isn’t clear how much change each proposal would produce. The reality of our current politics of division and partisanship is not what many would prefer, but at least it is real. Those periods after 9/11 and after Giffords’ near-fatal attack, when Americans focused on self-reflection and healing, were aberrations. Both tragedies created artificial moments of when important public policy questions were put aside.
  • State Senate set to ban general election write-in voting (by Damon Eris, CAIVN) Today, the State Senate is scheduled to vote on AB 1413, a bill that would address this inconsistency by banning all write-in candidates from the general election ballot for voter-nominated offices and removing the space for write-in votes from the those ballots.  The bill under consideration in the Senate is substantially different from the one that was initially  proposed in the Assembly and passed through committee.  AB 1413 was introduced into the legislature on March 14th by the chair of the Assembly's Committee on Elections and Redistricting, Paul Fong.
  • Parties active in nonpartisan election - Turnout could be higher from efforts by Republicans and Democrats. (BY ANDREW KENNEY, The Cary News - NC) On Election Day municipal candidates won't be identified with the political parties that dominate state and national races, but party volunteers standing just outside the polls will make sure voters know who's who.

Will Obama Get Independent Voters Figured Out In Time?

Lots of advice coming in for the President.

OBAMA
  • Mr. President, Please Read This Before Thursday (By Ed Koch, RealClearPolitics) Jobs, jobs, jobs, is the nation’s cry. I suggest, as I’m sure your advisers have, that you look to what FDR did in the depression of the 1930s. Again, you can propose, but the Congress will dispose. You should propose work programs comparable to the WPA, PWA, CCC and a host of others.
  • Fineman & Wolffe Offer Obama Advice: Paint GOP As "Embracing Bush" (RealClearPolitics) "And indeed, Rick Perry is very popular in the Tea Party. But, the Tea Party is anathema and toxic to independent voters. So the White House is going to go after independent voters by pointing to the Tea Party and try to turn out the Democratic base by painting a scary picture of the Republicans in Congress," Fineman said....
  • A Campaign Challenge: Defining Obama (By JEFF ZELENY, NY Times) The outcome of the presidential race over the next 14 months could well hinge to a large degree on which side prevails in the minds of moderate and independent voters.

Barbara Walters to Bloomberg: Is it time for an Independent?


BLOOMBERG
Bloomberg does not want to be prez (Politico) As a guest on Tuesday’s installment of “The View,” Barbara Walters said, “There are people who seem to be dissatisfied with candidates on both sides and they say maybe it’s time for an Independent. Any possibility that you would consider this?”

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

IndependentVoting.org's Nancy Ross Says Congress Should Investigate Situations As in Utah Where One-Third of Voters Are Independent and Locked Out of Primary Voting


OPEN PRIMARIES
  • Voter group disapproves of Utah's closed primary elections (By Jennie Christensen, Cache Valley Daily) When it comes to politics, 54 percent of Utahns call themselves Independents. But Nancy Ross, national director for IndependentVoting.org, says the state of Utah is anything but Independent. She says four years ago 93 percent of the people voted for Mitt Romney.
  • If you are a voter you'll want to read this (By KMVT News) Before July 1st, the state of Idaho never required party registration. But because of the federal court decision in Idaho republican party versus Ysursa, the law's changed. Only registered voters of a political party may vote to select their party's nominee.
  • Political Booths At County Fair Offer Friendly Alternative to Heated Debates (By Ben Botkin, Magic Valley Times News) There’s also voting information at the fair that doesn’t seek to sway your political views. The Twin Falls County Clerk’s office has a booth that explains the state’s switch to a closed primary system. It will require voters to declare a party affiliation before voting in the 2012 primaries, unless party leaders opt to allow unaffiliated voters to cast ballots.

Where Will Independents Swing in 2012?


2012
  • Perry Skips S.C. Tea Party Forum, 5 Others Appear (by Julie Rose, NPR) Paul said Americans need a system of sound money, property rights, contracts, a judicial system and a defense department, and "not a heck of a lot else."
  • Climate, evolution thorny issues for GOP hopefuls (Joe Garofoli,Carla Marinucci, San Francisco Chronicle) Nationally, 55 percent of Americans believe that global warming is a "serious personal threat," according to a Gallup survey in August. The bad news for Republican presidential candidates: The Public Policy Institute survey found that 62 percent of independent voters, who are the swing voters in the state, believe that, too.
  • Democratic analysis: Jobs plan key (By: Celinda Lake and Daniel Gotoff and Kristin Pondel, Politico) While independent voters negligibly lean toward the GOP today: 29% to 26%, with a 45% plurality undecided, it is a far cry from the Republicans’ 19-point lead among independents in the 2010 election. Democrats can take back the House and should not miss this opportunity.
  • Palin Draws Double the Size Crowd as Romney, Yet Remains Out of Race (By Sarah B. Boxer, National Journal) “Solutions come from you,” she told the crowd. “It is you who run our factories and own our small businesses, who fight our wars, who build our communities with a service heart, that is our country. … Hope is in you. It’s not that nebulous hopey-changey stuff we heard in 2008."

Open Primaries and Other Extreme Remedies for Extreme Ills of American Democracy


Drastic times call for drastic measures." This phrase comes to mind for me when I read pleas for political "moderation." (This phrase goes back to the Latin 'extremis malis extrema remedia' - 'extreme remedies for extreme ills.') Speaking of which, see  The Debt Crisis: Systemic and Uncontrolled Disease of Partisanship Dr. Jessie Fields tells us ‘I’m not an expert on the economy, I’m a 25 year physician and I recognize disease when it’s systemic and uncontrolled, and the two parties are strangling our democracy. We as a nation need to turn our attention to reforming the political process. As independents we support comprehensive nonpartisan restructuring of the political process; we think that’s at the heart of this crisis."

I am also reminded of a Talk Talk (a weekly commentary from an independent point of view on the Sunday talk shows that Fred Newman and Jackie Salit did) back in February of 2009, which in part went like this?
Newman: Yes, I think he’s saying, There’s a way that we’ve conducted business for hundreds of years – all kinds of business, political business, social business, economic business. And, if you just look (don’t analyze, look), what it’s led to is something resembling what could reasonably be called the collapse of the United States of America as a coherent working social system. So, says Obama, who knows how to look, we probably should do something different.

Salit: Right.

Newman: And a lot of people say, No. Remarkably enough, some people say, I don’t care if the American system has been destroyed by the old ways. Let’s keep doing the same thing. That’s the unstated debate that’s taking place in the country. Obama has played a major role in creating that debate, which is wonderful. That’s what he’s doing.

Salit:  OK.

Newman: That’s often how history works. Something fails for so long that the patient is not only dead, but the corpse starts to rot. Then someone comes along and says, I think this medical procedure has not worked out.
Still, regardless of differences in strategy, I am heartened by the growing legions of voters and politicians who are calling for open primaries and the inclusion of independent voters as full participants in our political process.  Hats off to the tens and hundreds of thousands of independents across the country who have been calling for open primaries as one of those 'extreme remedies,' and to the political leaders who are attempting to follow the "doctors of democracy" in our country -- ordinary Americans.

OPEN PRIMARIES
  • How closed primaries further polarize our politics (By Mark A. Siegel, executive director of the Democratic National Committee from 1974 to 1977. Washington Post/Opinions) The hybrid model used in New Hampshire allows registered independents, who often determine general election outcomes, to participate in the Democratic or Republican primary while protecting each major party from crossover by the other. If expanded to all states, such a system could moderate American politics...
  • Politics and the prisoners' dilemma (By Jonathan Sallet, O'Melveny and Myers LLP, The Hill/Congress Blog) Attempt to address hyper-partisanship: Under the new law, in full effect for the 2012 elections, members of Congress will run in an "open" primary, all parties together, and the top two winners, regardless of party, run in the general election. The hope is that the process makes the votes of independents as important as those of registered Democrats and Republicans (who traditionally have chosen the candidates in the general election).
  • Closed primaries and “radicalization” (by Jazz Shaw, Hot Air) Hard core partisans are likely to scoff at the question, seeing as much differentiation as possible as a good thing. But is there a down side to keeping independent (or the dreaded word… “moderate”) voters out of the primary process? The two chief arguments against this are easy to find. First, how small of a “tent” do you want and how damaging is it to have a variety of opinions and ideologies represented in the primary? Second, and perhaps more of a pragmatic notion, is the issue of electability – a subject which seems to have become a dirty word of late. After the base from each party selects the nominees, the center picks the winner every four years. At what point does purity cross the line to the Pyrrhic?

Monday, September 05, 2011

volcanic vista

PHOTO: Sarah Lyons

seeking independent voters


Hunting for Independents in New Hampshire


2012
  • Huntsman: 'I'm running as a Republican' (By NBC's Jo Ling Kent, msnbc) ...not as an independent...
  • Courting N.H. Independents, Huntsman Bills Himself as the Candidate to Unite the GOP (By Lindsey Boerma, National Journal) Hours before presidential front runner Mitt Romney took the stage at a Tea Party Express rally Sunday night in Concord, N.H., in an attempt to woo far-right conservatives, his fellow GOP candidate Jon Huntsman indicated to reporters in Alton Bay that he’d rather focus his time and resources on independents.
  • Hopes Rising, G.O.P. Voters Seek a Winner (By ASHLEY PARKER and JEFF ZELENY, NY Times) For all the consternation among some party leaders about the strength of the field of candidates, the conversations with Republicans and independent voters revealed a sense of satisfaction at their array of choices. The interviews reflected a marked shift in the mood from only months ago, when many Republicans were openly skeptical that Mr. Obama could be defeated.
  • What the Left Doesn’t Understand About Obama (By JONATHAN CHAIT, NY Times) Liberal critics of Obama, just like conservative critics of Republican presidents, generally want both maximal partisan conflict and maximal legislative achievement. In the real world, those two things are often at odds. Hence the allure of magical thinking.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

job well done


this day in history: 1957

Major Parties Are Disorganized; Disenfranchised Independent Voters Need Reforms


INDEPENDENT VOTERS
  • Editorial: Parties drive voters to register as Independents (Daily Courier - Prescott AZ) The numbers themselves aren't new news. We heard about the Independent gains back in January. A new study suggests, however, that while the Independent cause is growing, it is loosely organized. Funny - we think both major parties are the ones suffering from disorganization.
  • YOUR VIEW: In special election, voters disenfranchised by 'major' parties (By Letters from our readers, Birmingham News) As independent voters, we were not allowed to write in the candidate of our choice, so we left the polling place without voting for either printed candidate, disappointed to learn of a carefully crafted loophole in state law.

John Anderson: Reform Electoral Rules For Real Voter Choice


POLITICAL REFORM

Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission Under Attack



REDISTRICTING
  • Arizona Redistricting Panel Is Under Attack, Even Before Its Work Is Done (By MARC LACEY, NY Times) Similarly convinced that the commission is skewed toward the left, conservative politicians have pushed for the ouster of the panel’s chairwoman, Colleen C. Mathis, who is a registered independent but whose husband, Christopher, worked on the losing campaign of a Democratic state representative.

What's David Plouffe's mission for 2012? Winning back independent voters.


WHITE HOUSE
  • White House: Send us your petitions (By MATT NEGRIN, Politico) The idea behind “We the People” — as the program will be called — is that anyone with an idea or cause can go to the White House website and make a public pitch for support. If the idea gets 5,000 backers within 30 days, said White House spokeswoman Sandra Abrevaya, a “working group of policy officials” will respond.
  • David Plouffe: Obama's election guru (The Week) What's his mission for 2012? Winning back independent voters. Obama secured 52 percent of their votes in 2008, helping him take traditionally Republican states such as Indiana and North Carolina. But independents deserted the Democrats in the 2010 midterm elections, and Obama's approval rating among swing voters now stands at 35 percent.

Special Election in Brooklyn Makes for Family Feud; Independent Redistricting Needed for New York


NEW YORK
  • Brooklyn Special Election Could Upset Politics as Usual (By LIZ ROBBINS, NY Times) With more subplots than a telenovela — family feuds and shifting alliances, a car crash and a gunpoint robbery — the Assembly race, whose three candidates are all Democrats, is less about the candidates than who is behind them.
  • Redistricting (LETTER Queens Tribune) But Queens and the rest of New York have spoken loud and clear on the drawing of district lines. The public wants an independent commission - not the partisan, legislature-controlled LATFOR - to draw state legislative and congressional district boundaries according to fair and objective criteria while allowing for robust public input into the process.

Friday, September 02, 2011

yesterday is another day



when will it be warm again?

h/t to Michelle McCleary

Independents Clearly One Third of Electorate, Racially Diverse


INDEPENDENT VOTERS

Obama Wants to Talk to Independents, But Is He Listening?

Lots of people want to give advice to Pres. Obama. But who is he listening to? If he were listening to independent voters (now clearly one third of the electorate, even according to Rasmussen), he might change his tune -- America needs political reforms like open primaries in order for ordinary people to be heard. Hey, Mr. President, could you lend a hand? It just might change your game!


OBAMA
  • How Obama Can Be a Non-Partisan President (Jacqueline Salit, Huffington Post)  For many independents, it's not enough for Obama to simply criticize Congressional leaders for their partisan intransigence. He has to show that he's willing to back certain structural changes in the political process that make such intransigence more difficult. This means taking a stand in support of open primaries where independents can vote, which are currently under fire from right wing Republicans. And, imagine the shock waves that would follow an Obama appointment (in consultation with leaders of the independent movement) of two independents to vacant seats on the Federal Election Commission.
  • Obama's problem? No one fears him (By Roland S. Martin, CNN Contributor) Maybe White House senior adviser David Plouffe and campaign manager Jim Messina think the tactic the president is taking is appealing to independent voters. But the unwillingness to go to the mat on anything has angered some of his ardent supporters, who feel the White House will leave them hanging in the wind when it's time to fight.
  • How Obama could be the leader in the room (By David Gergen, CNN Contributor) There is a third course that does seem to have at least a possibility of working. That is: Let the president come forward with a detailed plan that he favors. Having taken the lead, let him then ask the Republicans to come to the White House in 10 days with their own plan. (Boehner is giving a speech on the economy and jobs in Washington on September 15.) And then let them sit down at Blair House and see if they can agree on a package -- three items from the Democratic column, three from the Republican.
  • CNN Poll: 8 in 10 think we're in a recession (By: CNN's Adam Levy) Don’t expect Republicans to stop demanding more budget cuts though. Almost half of GOPers surveyed say deficit reduction is just as important as creating more jobs, including those who identify themselves as tea party supporters. Democrats strongly disagree. Eighty-three percent want the president to focus more on job growth, and two-thirds of independents say the same.
  • South Carolina Independents Would Vote for Colbert Over Obama (By Adam Clark Estes, National Journal) With the support of 24 percent of the state's independent votes, Colbert is beating Obama's 22 percent but he's still trailing Republican frontrunner Rick Perry by three points.

Pretending Ron Paul Doesn't Exist


RON PAUL
  • Ron Paul a serious candidate concealed by media (By Sergio Goncalves, Daily Campus - U of CT) Moreover, Paul is electable. His unique, refreshing ideas excite many ordinary Americans who are disillusioned with the similarities between President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush in such areas as civil liberties, foreign policy, and economic policy. More than any other Republican presidential candidate, Paul offers real change from the Bush-Obama status quo.
  • Indecision 2012 - Corn Polled Edition - Ron Paul & the Top Tier (The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) Even when the media does remember Ron Paul, it's only to reassure themselves that there's no need to remember Ron Paul.
Pretending Ron Paul doesn't exist:



NY CD 9th Special: Turner and Weprin Battle


NEW YORK
'Spy' furor for Weprin - New flap in Weiner race (By ERIK KRISS in Albany and LEN MANIACE and IKMULISA LIVINGSTON in New York, NY Post) The pollsters said independent voters are breaking toward Turner as the Sept. 13 special election approaches.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Hold the presses! Did the New York Times just endorse open primaries????

Hold the presses! Did the New York Times just endorse open primaries???? Well, there just may be hope yet for Mississippi!

OPEN PRIMARIES
  • For Congress in New York’s Ninth District (EDITORIAL NY Times) Their options — chosen, unfortunately, by the parties’ leaders instead of in open primaries — are Assemblyman David Weprin, a Democrat, and Bob Turner, a Republican and former communications executive. The choice is clear: Mr. Weprin would represent the district with far more expertise, sensitivity and fiscal rationality. 
  • Making elections better, more efficient should always be a top priority for county officials (Scott County Times - MS) Much is being debated about the need for open primaries to give voters a better opportunity for choices in their favored candidates. Unfortunately, there is not much we can do here in Scott County to make that happen other than to send representatives to Jackson that would speak for us on that matter.

Independent Redistricting in a Partisan World Uphill Battle


REDISTRICTING
  • Redistricting now in Salt Lake County Council’s hands (By Jeremiah Stettler, The Salt Lake Tribune) Mayor Peter Corroon, a Democrat, considers the redistricting plans well-crafted. “The nonpartisan commission presented three viable options,” Corroon said, “a true demonstration of working for people not politics.”
  • Editorial: Independent redistricting panel up to citizens (Athens GA Banner-Herald) Clearly, then, what it will take to make an independent redistricting commission a reality in Georgia is a broad-based grassroots movement. Even those citizens who favor the party currently in power have an interest -- albeit it might not readily be apparent to them -- in having district lines drawn based on a "communities of interest" standard.
  • California's redistricting, by 14 citizens (By Cynthia Dai, LA Times) Predictably, some people aren't happy with our final decisions. Politicians and political parties that no longer have the same safe districts wish we'd drawn different lines. But there are procedures for dissenters to voice their concerns at the ballot box or in the courts.
  • Maine Redistricting Dispute Could be Headed for Court (Reported By: A.J. Higgins, Maine Public Broadcasting Network) Republicans and Democrats on a 15-member Reapportionment Commission continued to disagree today on a plan to redraw the political boundaries of the state's 1st and 2nd Congressional districts. Commission Chairman Michael Friedman, the sole politically unaffiliated member from Bangor, ended the stalemate by siding with the Democrats. Now both proposals go to the Legislature--and possibly the Supreme Court for a final ruling.
  • Redistricting committee still stuck in partisan rut, so Legislature to decide issue (By Eric Russell, Bangor Daily News) Michael Friedman: “I couldn’t get the donkey and the elephant to move a stitch, even though I tried. But I remain an optimist because whatever happens today, it’s not the end of the road.”
  • Editorial: IRC ignoring rural districts (The Daily Courier - Prescot AZ) In this space we have supported efforts to de-politicize the process in hopes of creating more competitive and more representative districts. It should not be so difficult to create districts in which the representative - state or federal - would have to think about balance, both politically and remembering rural concerns. Proof of this disconnect is found in the state Independent Redistricting Commission's public outreach meetings. No members of the IRC attended the commission's meeting in Flagstaff. Not one.
  • Pinal congressional, legislative districts need to shrink - Hispanic group favors similar 4th, 7th lines (By HAROLD KITCHING, TriValleyCentral) The Independent Redistricting Commission, mandated by a voter initiative in 2000 to take the redrawing away from politicians, has adopted basic congressional and legislative maps as a starting point, based on equal population and compactness and continuousness.

12 Percent of Voters Are Tea Partiers: Tail Wagging the Dog?

As a quick reminder, the handful of Tea Party freshman who won in 2010 did so in closed primary states. As another quick reminder, the Tea Party couldn't be dictating policy if ordinary Americans were able to fully participate in the political dialogue. Which they're not able to because of the control that the parties and the partisan corporate Big Media (whether "liberal" or "conservative".)

OBAMA
  • Obama Hits New Low in Quinnipiac Poll (By Steven Shepard, NATIONAL JOURNAL/Hotline On Call) "Men, whites and independent voters were the president's weak spots when his job approval was positive, and those groups have progressed from being weak spots to being serious problems," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
  • September 1, 2011 - Obama Approval Hits All-Time Low, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; Economy Is Getting Worse, More Voters Say (Quinnipiac) Only 12 percent of voters consider themselves members of the Tea Party movement, and voters have a 42 - 29 percent unfavorable view of it, which is better than the 51 - 35 percent unfavorable view of the Democrats and 53 - 32 percent unfavorable view of the Republicans.
  • To Get on Winning Path, Obama Should Act Like Democrat (By J.J. Goldberg, Jewish Daily Forward) The usual answer is that independent voters switched from Democratic to Republican, giving the GOP the edge. In fact, there was a shift, but not enough to turn the election. Self-described independents made up about 38% of the electorate in 2010, slightly up from 35% in 2008 (the rise was at Democrats’ expense). Independents favored Obama in 2008 by 54% to 46%; two years later they reversed and went 58%-42% Republican. If you do all the math, you’ll end up with about 4.5 million possible independent votes that switched columns from blue to red. Sobering, but not a game-changer. Put differently, if Obama won back all the independents next year that he lost in 2010, he still wouldn’t win. He needs to win back the Democrats who stayed home while Republicans were out voting.

Staten Island: Isn't "Partisan Hack Trickery" a Triple Redundancy??



NEW YORK
  • Rep. Michael Grimm slams flier campaign as 'partisan hack trickery' (By Judy L. Randall, SI Advance) Grimm’s fiery reaction came two hours after a loose coalition of about 20 activists rallied across the street from his office to take him to task on jobs, Medicare and Social Security. About half were Staten Islanders, including members of the Democratic Party, Move On.org, Restore the American Promise and the Working Families Party, which asked for press coverage of the event saying unemployed Islanders would be present.
  • Turner, Weprin, Gonzalez, Goldfeder in the endorsement roundup! (WNYC/The Empire) The Jewish Voice has endorsed Republican for Congress in the 9th District