Today is primary day and 3.5 million Flori

Friday, August 31, 2007

Conversations on Organized Labor

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers endorsed Hillary Clinton (and Mike Huckabee) at their conference this week in Miami. That's a problem.

Matt Stoller on Open Left points to a consistent problem: This is why labor can't get traction. It doesn't matter to their leaders that Clinton employs a union-buster as her chief strategist, they want a winner.

I've long understood the problem of the "labor movement" to be its undying loyalty to a dying Democratic Party. (See Organized Labor Stares Down Own Mortality in The Evening Bulletin from PA) Unions barely even organize the unorganized anymore -- their "growth" strategy in a post-industrial economy rife with NAFTAs, WTOs, CAFTAs, etc., is to re-organize the already organized by raiding other unionized workers and holding elections to switch their bank accounts over... Union membership since the effective days of Reagan, the original union-buster, has dropped from 20% to around 12%.

If organized labor would take a page from independents, whose ranks have grown during the same time period from 8% to 43%*, they might decide to become less "organized" and more independent. That would do for a start.

* According to a September 3, 2006 Washington Post article, A Nation of Free Agents, by Marc Ambinder: "Independent voters comprise about 10 percent of the electorate, but the percentage of persuadable independents has shot up to about 30 percent. In the 27 states that register voters by party, self-declared independents grew from 8 percent of the registered electorate in 1987 to 24 percent in 2004, according to political analyst Rhodes Cook. Consistently, about 30 percent of U.S. voters tell pollsters they don't belong to a party."

* And the most recent USA Today/Gallup poll puts self-identified independents at 43% of the electorate.


  • Campaign roundup--Fred Thompson will bring some law and order to the race next week (RealClearPolitics)

  • Obama needs early win to get black vote (Washington Times)

  • Ron Paul, perhaps the most antiwar candidate in the race, appeals to alienated voters (Wall Street Journal)

Conversations on Obama

Guest Voice on The Moderate Voice - Walking Think Tank - has succinct analysis of Obama’s challenge (one he has yet to meet).

But Obama has not been able to weave his critique of Hillary’s Iraq vote into the broader narrative of his campaign – that he is a different kind of politician who can unite the country.

Obama’s challenge is to show he possesses the leadership capacity to move the nation forward while simultaneously exposing Hillary’s greatest vulnerability. His opportunity is to propose legislation that seeks to ensure the nation never again goes to war the way we did in 2003 - a cause that should unite both war supporters and war opponents.

And I would just add that Congress never really had a debate, premature or otherwise, on authorizing force in Iraq because they are too busy jockying for positions within their parties instead of listening to and acting on the wishes of their constituents.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Conversations on Instant Runoff Voting

There's a great post on The Existentialist Cowboy (from Texas, where else?? and now linked on The Hankster) called Restoring American Democracy: A Proposal which I came by way of Steve Rankin at Free Citizen... supporting different variations of instant runoff voting:

Existentialist Cowboy says:
"A recent Gallup poll indicates more Americans now identify themselves as Democrats than Republicans —a shift that may give Democrats a long term edge...."

Well not so fast! Current polls are showing that 40-43% of the American electorate identify as independent, regardless of party registration, meaning that they choose the candidate they vote for based on issues over party label. The numbers are sometimes surprising: 32% Dem, 31% Repub, 37% independent for local registration...

Lest we forget, it was independent voters who put the issue of the war in Iraq on the national agenda (and I would say that was because of independents' willingness to approach the problem with "fresh eyes" -- not reactive to a long-term partisan strategy to keep the politicians employed...) and it was independents who "swung" Dem to create the change-over in the 2006 elections. This is also indicative of a move to the left by independents.

Existentialist Cowboy continues:
"In the US various methods of "approval voting" are termed an "instant runoff". The term "ranked choice" is also used to denote a Borda count specifically. In the UK, the term AV, or "Alternative Vote" is used. In Canada, the term is "preferential ballot". The time has come for a fundamental change. The question is: will the American people seize perhaps the last opportunity they will have as a nation to bring about a "rebirth of freedom".

We couldn't agree more!!! Thanks for this post, Existentialist Cowboy! We're looking for more on independent voters and the challenges faced by voters who can't abide the partisan divide....


Wednesday, August 29, 2007


  • Kucinich: "One of the greatest hoaxes of this campaign -- everyone's for universal healthcare" (Boston Globe)

  • Brookings Institution's "Poverty and Income in 2006" released today, Bloomberg's praise for institute "above partisan politics" (The Nation )

  • Fidel Castro: Obama, Clinton are playing cards on Sunday afternoon (The Caucus )

  • California redistricting--trying the independent commission way again (Mercury News)

  • Congress: what happens after they get elected? Nothing... (Rutland Herald )

  • Meet the Citizen Leaders Who Are Changing America-independent "warthogs" (by Newt Gingrich, Human Events)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Conversations on Political Insanity

If you didn't catch Obama on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show when the Senator was in New York last week, you can see the video on RealClearPolitics. Stewart, who is often a brilliant political comedian, reads some increasingly sensationalist headlines on Obama's campaign against Hillary and then poses the question: "Has the insanity of this process sunk in on you yet?"

Being an independent, I thought that was a great lead-in for a statement about our corrupt partisan political process and how we need to change how politics is done in this country if we are to create a new direction for the country. Obama answers that we need some "normalcy", and relates a story about preparing for an 8:30 am debate, "It's always a shock to the system when, Sunday morning, you wake up and you're face-to-face with Mike Gravel." (titter, titter... you know the drill...)

Hmmmm..... Well, not so funny. If a candidate for US President is not so game to come face-to-face with Mike Gravel, how willing would he be to come face-to-face with independent candidates who aren't under the constraints of a partisan dictatorship? (see Larry Reinsch and Co. for Rock The Debates asking Barack Obama The Question: whether he would debate independent candidates after the primary. Obama decries the "winner-take-all system" and claims "general sympathy"...)

Or how willing would he be to come face-to-face indeed with the American people and make a statement against the partisan good ol' boys (and girls) club? Apparently not so much... Word is, Obama still has not scheduled a promised meeting with New Hampshire independents, and from what I'm hearing in New York, his Brooklyn Marriott rally was packed with real people (hell - only a couple of New York pols have had the muster to go up against the Clinton machine to endorse Obama) but he didn't really go for it. Hey -- it's New York. Take on Clinton-the inevitable? Appeal to the 47% of the black vote in New York City that went outside the Democratic Party and voted for a nonpartisan mayor in 2005? Apparently not...

It's beginning to look a lot like Obama is running for VP.

Talk/Talk: Politics of the Absurd

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Every Sunday CUIP’s political director Jacqueline Salit and strategist and philosopher Fred Newman watch the political talk shows and discuss them. Here are excerpts from their dialogue on Sunday, August 26, 2007 after watching "The Chris Matthews Show” and "Meet the Press.” To read it in its entirety, go to:

Salit: I understand that the idea that Warner’s plan is a catalyst for reconciliation is absurd. But, is it absurd as a stage setter for a “face saving” withdrawal?
Newman: If you go someplace where you never should have gone and, at some point, you come to realize that – in its full historical depth – then what you do, it seems to me, is get out. How do you get out? Is it one at a time, three at a time, 5,000 at a time? That will get decided by the size and number of boats and planes that you have. That’s a totally technical question. Warner’s play is symbolic. He knows that. Everyone knows that.... (more)


Monday, August 27, 2007

Conversations on Nonpartisan Elections


Sunday, August 26, 2007


Florida IAM to Host Presidential Candidates Monday and Tuesday

Five presidential candidates confirmed they will take part in discussions of key domestic issues before more than 600 representatives of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) on August 27 and 28 at theDisney Yacht and Beach Club in Orlando, FL.

The schedule for the IAM's Conversation with the Candidates is as follows:
Mon. Aug. 27, 3:30 pm--New York Sen. Hillary Clinton
Mon. Aug. 27, 7:30 pm--California Rep. Duncan Hunter and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
Tue. Aug. 28, 7:30 pm--Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich

The candidate conversations will be moderated by Erin Moriarty of CBS News.The event will be streamed, live, from the web site. Streaming provided by

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Conversations on Iraq

Very important post on The Political Lizard "The Irresponsible Defeatists" about and I hope a lot of people read it. I agree wholeheartedly that "we need leadership; not political rhetoric and political pandering." And I would only add that I don't think that leadership will be coming from either of the two major parties, their candidates or their strategies to get votes. We the people will have to take responsibility for the issues raised by The Lizard. I agree that Iraq is a defeat for the liberals/Dems just as much as it is for the neo-cons/Repubs. That's why a strong independent movement that can rally non-partisans is so important right now. A continuation of Clinton/Bush? I think not! Let's keep organizing at the grassroots!

Friday, August 24, 2007

What's New on The Hankster

New on The Hankster: Y'all Politics (look for Steve Rankin)

Conversations on Independent Politics

(And for something interesting, see Easement linked on A New America: Every thought I’ve had is a record in a relational database. Linked by primary and foreign keys. I query finding only strand: dark hair on the pillow the tail end of her laugh.) Nice...

And while you're at it, don't miss the original Hankster/Belmont collaboration: Independent Voter Blues....

Little Known Facts: The Party of Lincoln

by Steve Rankin

The Republican Party was founded in the summer of 1854, and it had the largest number of members in the US House that met in 1855, so it was a third party for only a few months. (Of course, with the draconian ballot access laws, that would be impossible for a new party to pull off today.)

Abe was elected in 1860 with 39.9% of the popular vote, thanks largely to the North-South split in the Democratic Party.

Illinois Sen. Stephen Douglas, the nominee of the northern Democrats, actually finished fourth in electoral votes in 1860. Vice President John Breckinridge of Kentucky, the southern Democratic presidential nominee, was second in electoral votes, and Tennessee's John Bell of the Constitutional Union Party was third.

Steve Rankin's blog is Free Citizen (on The Hankster sidebar).

Steve Rankin: The Louisiana Election System and Partisan Primaries

Steve Rankin (who publishes on Y'all Politics) comments:

Louisiana is the only state that has nonpartisan elections for all of its state officials: all candidates run in the same election. The state, which alone has also used that system for its congressional elections, is restoring party primaries for those elections, starting in 2008.

Louisiana's Republicans are allowing only Republicans to vote in GOP congressional primaries. Louisiana Democrats have not yet said whether they will invite independents to vote in Democratic congressional primaries. "... the Legislature allowed the political parties to determine whether they would allow independent voters to participate in the closed party primary." The legislature had no choice, since, in 1986, the U. S. Supreme Court gave parties the right to invite independents to vote in their primaries.

Mississippi Republicans say that they will keep ALL GOP primaries open to ALL voters-- regardless of the outcome of the Democrats' lawsuit. The Democrats, in contrast, have indicated that they will invite independents but block Republicans from voting in Democratic primaries.
Louisiana has had party registration since 1916.


Thursday, August 23, 2007


Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

New York City Independents Win Key Court Decision

New York City--A State Supreme Court judge yesterday struck down a rules change enacted by the State Independence Party and chairman Frank MacKay in June. The rule would have given the State Executive Committee control over the selection of Independence Party candidates in New York City, including for citywide offices in 2009. The court's decision affirms that all such decisions will be made by the New York City organizations.

In June, the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island county organizations of the Independence Party filed suit against MacKay and the party's State Committee. The plaintiffs asserted that local control over city nominations is guaranteed by state law and that party rules could not circumvent that. Brooklyn State Supreme Court Judge Joseph Levine agreed declaring the rule "invalid" asserting that "Although political parties are afforded wide latitude in adopting rules for party governance, such rules cannot conflict with statutory directives."
Attorneys for the plaintiffs were Harry Kresky, counsel to the NYC Independence Party and Michael Hardy, counsel to the National Action Network and Rev. Al Sharpton.

Attorney Harry Kresky stated, "In a series of rulings over the last year the courts have clearly stated that the Independence Party is not above the law. This is an important message, not just to the state party's Executive Committee, but more generally. The doctrine of party rights cannot be used to abuse or undercut democratic protections built into state law. For this reason the decision has ramifications beyond New York. It's important because it defines limits to party power at a time when more and more Americans dislike and distrust political parties."

Rockin' the candidates over the debates...

Please check in with Rock The Debates to see candidates' responses to The Question: "Would you debate independent candidates in the general election?" Cool, very cool!

Conversations on What's Becoming

As The Nation pointed out this week, the Economist ran a cover story earlier in August called "Is America Turning Left?" "The American people seem to be reacting to conservative overreach by turning left," says Katrina vanden Heuvel, but she seems to be nervous about the Dems being able to make hay while the Repub barn rots.

Andrew Kohut and Carroll Doherty wrote this week in a special to The Washington Post: "Leading this nationwide left turn are independents, who've always been the pivotal voting bloc."

Fred Newman commented this week, "Well, in a two party system, in a two party situation, you can't separate out what moves this country to the right from the failure to move to the left." He says the "new left" has been centrist and even "wishy washy", setting the stage for Clintonism and opening the door to Karl Rove's "compassionate conservative" Bush presidency...

Independents "turned left "(most pundits talk/explain things in terms of ideology, but whether left/center/right ideology has any bearing on what the American people think and do is questionable...) on the issue of the war in Iraq. It was independents who moved against the war leading up to the 2006 midterm elections that put the Dems in control of Congress. Now grassroots Dems are taking credit for that shift... And while the certain difference between grassroots Dems and party elites is the subject of another post, grassroots Dems are Dems nonetheless, and one of the parties will always try to co-opt the issues raised by independents and try to turn those issues into votes.

Significant public figures from Michael Bloomberg to Cindy Sheehan to many local candidates, as well as just regular people are increasingly leaving the parties to become independent.

Is America becoming independent? We don't know. I hope so.

Talk/Talk: Karl Rove and the Dialectic of History

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Every Sunday CUIP’s political director Jacqueline Salit and strategist and philosopher Fred Newman watch the political talk shows and discuss them. Here are excerpts from their dialogue on Sunday, August 19, 2007 after watching "The Chris Matthews Show”, "Meet the Press” and "The McLaughlin Group.” To read it in its entirety, go to:

Newman: Karl Rove didn’t control everything. Will he defend the positions they took? Yes, of course. They produced a war that was dreadfully managed and didn’t go well for them politically. But that is the consequence of empowering the right, as Rove did. That dialectic is simply the dialectic of history. Julius Caesar goes out and wants to conquer the world. He wins a lot of battles. He comes back home and says, “I won all this land and I’ve become very, very popular, so I think I’ll become the ruler of the entire world.” And the next thing you know, he’s stabbed and he’s dead. Was that part of his plan? I doubt it. Was that a consequence of his plan? Not exactly. But it was one of the possibilities created by the success of what he did.
Salit: Success can create illusions.
Newman: You don’t have the control that you might like to have, or might imagine that you have, or thought you would have, because you were the person who did some particular thing. But, that’s not how the world works. People create certain things and then certain things happen off of that....


Monday, August 20, 2007


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Independent Voter Blues

Don't miss the new video at the top of The Hankster -- that' me and my friend and musician David Belmont (WindWater Productions) with our rendition of "Independent Voter Blues"... A Film by Ellen Korner... Hope you enjoy it!! (You can also watch it on HanksterTube)


Friday, August 17, 2007

What's New on The Hankster

New on The Hankster! Please check out Free Citizen: "This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government." Steve Rankin has an interesting post "An Ancient Gripe From Mississippi Voters" about who can vote in Mississippi primaries.

Welcome, Free Citizen!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Conversations on Being Real Clear

Justin Miller (worth a read) quotes Peter Grier's Christian Science Monitor article on RealClearPolitics in his commentary today: "The gains really come from alienated, independent voters who tend to be fickle, can stay home on Election Day and are easily drawn to third party candidates...."

News for you, Justin: Independents have an agenda, which corresponds to a non-partisan, let's say anti-partisan view of politics. Fickle? I think not. Independents CHOOSE to be second class citizens. We don't have the rights that partisans have, but we think partisanship is dangerous to the future of the country. Let's be real clear!

I'm PROUD to be "alienated" in a world of partisan deal-making clubhouse political policy that doesn't represent the American people! To be in sinq with the Parties will only drag us backward. We need to move beyond partisanship and the deadly destructive global politics we are now engaged in.

Justin, have you talked to an independent lately????


  • Indies like Obama (NY Daily News)
  • New Hampshire indies may vote Dem, but not because they like them (Associated Content)
  • Likewise for indies nationally (The Christian Science Monitor in USA Today)
  • 74 percent of independent voters give Bush poor marks on Iraq, while just 19 percent approve. (News 10-CA)
  • Warren Buffett Co-Hosts Obama Fundraiser (Washington Post)
  • Ohio Independent Tim Quinn Running for Mayor (TMC )
  • Ohio Board of Elections finds Davoli to be independent (Tiffin OH Advertiser Tribune)
  • Odd coalitions make Toms River NJ mayoral race worth watching (Politics NJ)
  • North Carolina: Go ahead, say the "I" word (Independent Weekly)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


  • Amid record-low ratings, Congress goes home for the summer break trying to distance themselves from their beltway partisanship (CQ Politics)
  • Do the neo-cons need Karl Rove when they can count on the Democrats? (The Free Press)
  • Obama in New Hampshire: "If I go in there alone, I am not going to bring about change, even if I am elected. If we don’t change the dynamics of Congress, then I’ll just be a figurehead, and the same government will function and the same gridlock will reign.’’ (Nashua Telegraph)
  • Camden NJ City Council vote s a return to partisan elections (Courier Post)
  • South Dakota voters are independent (Argus Leader)
  • Florida independents should ignore this advice... (South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What's New on The Hankster

USA Today blog "Steve Forbes to tout Giuliani on Blog" TalkRadio today, and WSJ "Washwire" "Blogger's Take on Rove's Resignation" are key ones.... Now on The Hankster sidebar.... Check them out!

Are you an independent voter with attitude? Let us know! If you have a great independent blog or you know of some great independent news, email The Hankster! You're in!

Talk/Talk with Fred Newman and Jackie Salit-- not new, but new on The Hankster sidebar. This week FIGHTS, COMEBACKS and ASTERISKS -- an independent take on the Sunday talk shows is now available at the click on Talk/Talk ....
And by the way, did you see this post by Glenn Greenwald on "Large numbers of Americans believe that we should stop acting as the world ruler -- the new Pew Poll found "widespread feelings that the US is playing the role of the hegemonic or dominant world leader more than it should be" -- but such views are rigidly excluded from the bi-partisan Foreign Policy Community and thus excluded from what we are permitted in the mainstream to debate....."

Conversation on Markos Moulitsas

I happened to catch Markos Moulitsas on Charlie Rose last night. Here's a snipit of film from the interview... Not being much of a follower of Kos, I have to say I was astounded at his lack of "message". He did make the point that terms like "left" and "right" don't have much meaning these days, right after saying he's "supposedly left on the war", and then updating his resume with the facts that he used to be a Repub, and actually he's a libertarian when it comes to his own life (wouldn't want the US government in his bedroom, etc... - of course his wife has a lot to say about everything, etc...) but Karl Rove was really responsible for the collapse of the bridge in Minnesota. Oh, and there was a lot of giggling when Rose asked Markos what is the difference in positions taken by Hillary, Obama and Edwards in their campaigns relative to the war...

Markos' real message is something like: "The Netroots will support the Democratic ticket no matter what, and we don't want to put pressure on anyone in the meantime because we really don't care who the nominee is..." So much for dialogue....


  • In South Jersey, more minorities, and independent voters are still the largest voting bloc by far. In Burlington and Monmouth Counties, the number of voters registered as unaffiliated outnumbers Democratic and Republican registrants combined. (Campaigns & Elections magazine)
  • In Michigan, changing the timing of the primary, Independent voters probably would have to declare a party preference to participate (Michigan Live)
  • 3rd-party candidates are wild cards in zany year (Seattle Post Intelligencer)
  • Karl Rove Has Left The Building: Or HAS He? (By Joe Gandelman - The Moderate Voice)
  • Will Nunn Run? (Human Events)
  • The Bloomberg Scenario (By Charlie Cook, National Journal)
  • In Oregon, still at it, for an open primary (The Oregonian)
  • In North Carolina ‘Instant runoff’ gets a tryout in Hendersonville (Ashville Citizen Times)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sunday, August 12, 2007

More Conversation on Independence

Ron Chusid writes on Liberal Values: "If there is a new center to American politics, it is not found by trying to find a place in the middle on all issues, and it is certainly not found in the policies of the DLC. The real center is an area of common agreement between many Democrats, independents, “Starbucks Republicans,” and “South Park Republicans” in opposing the war, holding liberal social positions, but being more moderate on economic issues."

Conversations on Independence

  • Here's a catchy way for the Dems to avoid alienating independents: open the primaries! (Drudge Retort)
  • The debate between the Dem netroots and the DLC is alive and... here on Left in Alabama...
  • Daniel Ellsberg comments on Cindy Sheehan's independent candidacy...


  • Hillary at the top of the Dem ticket could hurt local candidates and jeopardize the party's standing with independent voters (Washington Post) and see Gallup Poll for favorable/unfavorable ratings...
  • Florida Hispanics turning independent (Miami Herald)
  • Survey Brief: Political Independents and Health Care (Kaiser Family Foundation)
  • Independence Party of New York Battle Still Raging in Court (Ballot Access News), where Rev. Sharpton's attorney Michael Hardy helped argue the charge of racial discrimination by the IP State Committee's actions against the NYC operation...
  • Matt Bai has written a book about current attempts to reform the Dem party

Friday, August 10, 2007


My humble beginnings at YouTubing and movie-making can be seen at Hankstertube.

Conversations on Democracy

  • On the Obama campaign for the White House: Michael Roberts' Dilemma...
  • Fred Newman has some advice for Obama in Talk/Talk...
  • Republicans have failed the Right (The Economist)
  • Stuart Rothenberg has had enough debate -- Gravel, Kucinich, Paul, Tancredo? Let's move on!.....
  • And journalist/filmmaker John Pilger has an excellent piece on Clintonism in Dissident Voice: "What Clinton and Blair have most in common is that they are the most violent leaders of their countries in the modern era; that includes Bush. Consider Clinton’s true record...." (more)

Talk/Talk: Getting Past the Pros

Salit: Bernstein commented that one of the dynamics in this election – and this connects to the question of whether 2008 is an automatic win for the Democrats – is that the voters are trying to "get past the pros."
Newman: I don't know if he means "pros" or "prose."
Salit: Well, he did write a very long book about Hillary! The voters are trying to get past the political pros to make their own judgment about who the candidates are and where they want the country to go.
Newman: I agree with him.
Salit: Could you say more about that?
Newman: It has to do with the changes in journalism and communications, the blogs, the Internet and all that. Young people are more educated, more sophisticated, less interested in simply following party doctrines. That's the phenomenon that he's pointing to. Does it mean that they'll do the right thing? No. It just means that they'll be able to take more direct credit for the mistake or the success of 2008. It's a more educated American public, politically so..... (from Talk/Talk)


  • Lenora Fulani filed papers yesterday to begin an exploratory committee with the intent to seek a citywide office in 2009 (read her statement here on Black Star News) and the MSM is united--Fulani's repudiation of her 1989 remarks about Israel and Palestinians is THE news:
  • Middle East Remarks Shadow Fulani's Run Announcement (NY Sun)
  • Firebrand Fulani to seek citywide office (AM New York)
  • Fulani Repents, Explores 2009 (NY Observer)

  • On the national campaign trail:
  • John McCain in New Hampshire--"When he talks to voters directly, it's more than Iraq and immigration" (Seacoastonline)
  • Absent 3rd Party run, Hillary can't win (Rasmussen Reports)
  • Forum Reflects Gays' Clout, Democratic Courtship Stops at Same-Sex Marriage (Wall Street Journal)
  • Gay support could cost candidates (Politico)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Conversations on an Independent New York

There was Big News today in New York City when Lenora Fulani announced at a press conference that she has formed an exploratory committee with the intent of seeking citywide office in 2009 (that's the Mayor's race, when Mike Bloomberg will be term-limited out).

Some of the coverage includes a.m. New York, the New York Observer (which ran the entirety of Fulani's remarks), Redding News Review which also ran Fulani's statement here, New York magazine's blog the Daily Intelligencer ran this piece with the playful title "The Mayoral Campaign Just Got More Fun: Welcome, Lenora Fulani"..., and Brooklyn's Voice of the New York Orthodox Jewish Community Vos Iz Neias also picked up the news...

The Hankster has a clip from the opening of Dr. Fulani's remarks at the top of the site, so be sure to click on the video! You can also go to Lenora Fulani's Committee for an Independent New York blogsite...

Lenora Fulani 2009: From the Bottom Up

Pictures from today's City Hall press conference where preeminent independent political leader Lenora Fulani, with a gathering of some 75-80 representatives of the New York City Independence Party and the Coalition of Outsiders behind her, announced that she has filed papers with the New York City Campaign Finance board authorizing an exploratory committee for a run for citywide office in 2009.

Fulani said:
"Much has been accomplished at the level of bringing politicians and policy makers together under Mayor Bloomberg's stewardship. But lasting solutions come about when regular people come together in thier lives and in their neighborhoods. "Operation Conversation" [Fulani's program in response to the brutal killing of Sean Bell in Queens earlier this year] is one example of the kind of initiative in which the people of this city can more directly take responsibility for public safety. Yes, we have a good police commissioner and his officers have been very responsive to this program. But communication and collaboration among groups that are alienated from one another has to be created "from the bottom up."
I'm working on video.... Stay tuned! In the meantime, see Lenora Fulani's Committee for an Independent New York...

Obama and Labor

Click here for the video.
Obama's remarks at the AFL-CIO sponsored Dem debate in Chicago's Soldier Field: "We're debating the most important foreign policy issues that we face, and the American people have the right to know. It is not just Washington insiders that are part of the debate that has to take place with respect to howwe're going to shift our foreign policy...." You can read a partial transcript here at Meng Bomin blog... and d-day considers "a realignment in the Democratic Presidential primary with a Washington insider/Washington outsider split."

Black Star News says: "For America to have a good cream of leadership, an Obama-Edwards campaign team would the best choice for this country. A Hillary Clinton choice is a no change policy and will in fact take America back to the bad old days of the 1990s. America wants to move forward and should go with the candidates that will help the country move forward...."

An Ordinary Person and Politics in America has a Question for Labor...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Conversations on Liberals and Independence

Behind the Times (subscription wall)--now on The Hankster sidebar--is a site that gives you access to The Opinionator, a blog at the New York Times by Tobin Harshaw & Chris Suellenthorp, staff editors for The New York Times Op-Ed page. (Very interesting!) They caught up with The Hankster's comments on the YearlyKos convention while I was on vacation -- Thanks, Tobin! The Opinionator is also available on GreenPagan...

Also noted in the same post was Marc Cooper (also now on The Hankster sidebar) in a piece called "Tail Chasing": "I think it's just peachy if liberal bloggers feel they'e somehow at war with the Right. Okay, if it makes you feel useful and responsible. But careful not to blindly enlist as simple mouthpieces for the other half of the duopoly...." Well put, Marc.

From Registered Independent: It shouldn't matter if it's a liberal solution, a conservative solution, a libertarian solution, or whatever.... Partisanship, on the other hand, is about using the disagreements in a way that results in one portion of the political spectrum dominating over the other's in a never-ending battle, no matter what the issue, no matter what the facts, and no matter what the "other side" has to say. If anything represents tyranny, it's partisanship....

Francis L. Holland says: I have been a liberal Democratic activist for more than three decades. You know that I am a Black man who strongly supported Hillary Clinton candidacy for president at DailyKos, until I was called a "monkey" and banned from participation there, in the same way that South Africans Blacks were "banned" during apartheid for expressing views which the white majority there found objectionable objected....

Sameh Abdelaziz says: I am a free spirited hard working American, and a capitalist to the core. I also happen to believe that affordable health care is a basic right for every citizen....

And Paul takes umbrage at Think and Question: Why is it my Democratic Party insists on killing off promising and strong new leaders in the primaries?...Think & Question will we be better off with the Washington Insiders or the Populist Prophits?

For my money, we need an activist independent movement....

Lenora Fulani for Mayor in 2009?

Lenora Fulani will hold a press conference Thursday on the steps of City Hall. Stay tuned!

Newport RI Folk Festival

I'm back from a wonderful break with my friend Margo in Rhode Island, including the Newport Folk Festival. Stars included Emmylou Harris and Alison Krauss & Union Station, but the real treat was Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys, and Alejandro Escovedo (with an absolute standout performance by his violinist Susan Voelz).


Conversations on Independence

  • Independent blog Great Minds Think Like Me (now on The Hankster sidebar) thinks the Dems have become Bush enablers....
  • The Lizard (a new independent blog now on The Hankster sidebar) comments on Censure Resolutions and the Disingenuous Congress: "This is the worst congress I have ever had to endure. This congress has been unable to accomplish anything significant. The only issue they have is the unpopular war and an unpopular president. The democratic leadership has no ideas, no direction, and a 3% approval rating on their handling of the Iraq war. It is high time this congress realizes they are inadequate. Both political parties have bankrupted American society...."
  • The Mahablog (Home blog of the American Resistance) has a piece (This is a good read and I applaud her effort to bring in history, even if I don't agree with the projected outcome of this process!) talking about how the liberal netroot left shall overcome the DLC.... "The DLC came along and had some success with a short-sighted strategy: Ignore the base, because they don’t have anyone else to vote for, and try to pick off “swing voters” by moving to the Right. But now the American people are desperate for someone to lead them away from the failed policies of the Right.... Dear DLC: Step aside, fellas. We’re doing the leading now." I'm going to keep an eye on this, but again, I don't have much hope for the resurection of the Party of Triangulation to be born again (and again and again at election time) as the Party of the People....

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Final (hopefully) Conversation on YearlyKos

And this will conclude my non-coverage of the YearlyKos/Democratic convention. (I know I said I was talking to independents as Shaun Mullen was making cookies and so it was.... I understand the cookies turned out fine, as did the conversations...) The candidate debate was presided over by Matt Bai and some other lesser known folks... So far, carla at Loaded Orygun (now on The Hankster sidebar) wins MVP for the debate section today [people seem to think that Obama was charming... that's nice....]

Someone said this at Group News Blog: "This is really interesting convention, the attendees are very diverse in age, not so much in race, but they do cross income boundaries to some degree...." Well, that's good news....

Marc Ambinder at Atlantic wins the award for Most Improved Player with this comment: "Barack Obama has placed on a pox on both houses of Congress and both political parties...." and "After the forum ended, reporters clustered around Clinton's spokesman, Howard Wolfson...." I don't know, I was talking to independents about Clintonism and how triangualtion hasn't particularly been good for regular people...

On a side note, John Harwood was allowed to say (now that the WSJ has been bought by Rupert Murdoch....) that "Some 53% back the idea of building a third party to mount presidential candidacy...."

The Seminal was really excited because he got a question in on the special session and he's having a party.....

Wait a minute! What's become of me??? I've become THEM! Yikes! I'm blogging about bloggers! Help me!... Oh, that's right... I'm going away to the Newport Folk Festival tomorrow. Thanks!

See you here next week!

More Conversation on YearlyKos

At the risk of reacting to the Big Blog, here are a few more YearlyKos abstentions: Shaun Mullen (Kiko's House is now on The Hankster sidebar...) cites E.J. Dionne Jr.'s WaPo commentary ("Daily Kos is often described as liberal, but it is, more than anything, partisan....") and is baking cookies.... Yummy! Pete Abel agrees with a small caveat...

Here's my 2 cents: YearlyKos will add nothing to a much needed debate on the future direction of our country. The questions will be neatly arranged within a Democratic Party framework while appearing to be coming from the grassroots. That's a lot like Clintonism... There'll be a lot of balooey about taking over the DP by the grassroots, and the MSM will drone on about how the DLC will dominate in the end... Too bad. The time for insurgence in the DP is over. Without a relationship to independent voters -- left, center and right -- YearlyKos will remain safely within the boundaries of the very partisan political culture that is responsible for the bad policy we are living with right now.

Unless grassroots Democrats are willing to talk about the Democrats' complicity in the current political arrangement, they'll be left with griping about how the Dems are not as organized as the Repubs and can't win elections because all the corporate money is behind the Repubs, etc. Lots of Bill O'Reilly stuff... They'll end up blaming the base and supporting the top of the ticket no matter what. They'll say Billary is better than Bush. They'll organize the grassroots to back the lesser of the 2 evils because we can't afford to have another Repub in office.... Blah, blah, blah...

So Shaun is baking cookies and I'm making calls to independents...


  • Michael Tomasky writes in the Washington Post that the "I-word is being tossed about pretty freely in some left-leaning circles these days...."
  • James Rainey at the LA Times notes that YearlyKos "attendees struggled with how to strike the right balance between their previous renegade stance and still work cooperatively enough with Democratic Party institutions to win elections...."
  • Ben Smith at Politico takes also takes a direct approach, identifying YearlyKos as a special interest group: "The bloggers’ clear partisanship and their importance to the eventual Democratic nominee continue to make them a major part of the institutional Democratic Party...."
  • Hillary gets her own special session at YearlyKos... where some of the little guys are...
  • Idaho Repubs are split on closed primaries...
  • “I vote for the person, not the party,” is a common mantra in San Angelo TX...

Friday, August 03, 2007

Granite State Rebels!

Be sure to click on the video at the top of The Hankster (it's 15 minutes well spent) to see New Hampshire independents Betty Ward, Russ Ouellette and Andre Gibeau hold forth on Political Chowder... You do know that independents vote in the primaries in New Hampshire, right? And, yes, I DID hear Barack Obama utter the word "independent" in the YouTube/CNN debate! Thanks, New Hampshire independents!!!!

Conversations on YearlyKos

I'm a little slow on this, but I just discovered you can go on the YearlyKos convention site and watch live-streaming video of the proceedings! They're talking about voting right now, and when someone suggested a federal INDEPENDENT redistricting process, it got a big cheer from the audience!

That might be handy tomorrow (Saturday) for the Presidential Leadership Breakout Session at 12 noon (and btw -- the ever negotiating Hillary will be there before the session to answer questions....). Some Congresspeople will have to be on The Hill for the end of the session..

Chris Cizzilla at the Washington Post notes that Stan Greenberg - whoever he is (there are actually testimonies on his promo that say "Clinton’s pollster, Stan Greenberg, provided the game plan... "Five major changes of government in seven years. And Greenberg was instrumental in each. " hmmm.... but I digress...) - had some advice for the progressive bloggers: Think big. Chris comments: As in, big gains for Democrats in both the House and the Senate in 2008.... Okay.

Also on the Washington Post: Yes, there IS power on the blogosphere - where "The fact is, the Net roots cannot win elections by ourselves," Markos "Kos" Moulitsas ZĂșniga, founder of Daily Kos and the namesake of the event, said this week. "But we can be a key component to a winning Democratic strategy...." Again, okay..... [And BTW, I agree that bloggers can't pull votes -- as they say, PEOPLE pull votes....]

In YearlyKos Convention Underscores Blogging’s Tricky Political Role Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice thinks that's an indication that the original Kos is "much more the hard-nosed political realist". I beg to differ. If Kos were a player in any game other than the Democratic Party, he'd be soft.

Which leads me to Gun Toting Liberal (now on The Hankster sidebar)- who seems independent enough... He's NOT going to YearlyKos and here's why:

While I may be a bleeding heart, dyed in the wool “Liberal”, I’m proud of the fact I am INDEPENDENTLY SO. Just tacking a “D” behind your name isn’t going to earn my endorsement. While I’m both grateful and proud of the traffic and readership stats we receive here at The GTL™, there’s no doubt in my mind at all if I were to tack that “D” behind our moniker, and completely surrender any form of independent (small “I” on purpose) thought, that daily readership would swell tenfold, and quickly.... Well, you get the idea, so read the rest...

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Independent voters can salvage the squandering of Obama

I recommend everyone read The Squandering of Obama By Salim Muwakkil, on In These Times. This is a very thoughtful post about Barack Obama's historical run for the DP nomination. As an independent, I wish all the best for Obama's campaign--we need new leadership and a new direction for the country that reflects what the American people want, which I believe will come from outside the 2 political parties and partisan thinking that now dominate our political culture.

This article makes me think about what a risk for the Dems right now to highlight issues important to the black community. Very risky. Obama fills the bill and Hillary has to contend with a Dem base organized around a non-Clintonian politic. Oooops! (In addition to Bill's "Sister Souljah" moment, let's also not forget that he left the trail in his seminal campaign to oversee the execution of a black man in Arkansas -- hardly an appeal to Americans of any color...) As Salim Muwakkil says, "He demonstrated a willingness to put blacks in their place."

The critical ingredient for the Obama campaign, if it is to remain relevant and anti-Clinton/Bush, is for Sen. Obama to reach out to independent voters. Independents are the base that can give flight to a new vision for America. I hope Mr. Obama will reach out to independent voters. It can make all the difference, not just for his campaign, but for the future of our country.
For more on the Clinton/Obama debate see Lenora Fulani's dialogue with Kirsten John Foy in the Amsterdam News.

Other Conversations

Open Left and independent voters

Why Political Machines Like Static Races by Matt Stoller on Open Left (now on The Hankster sidebar) is worth a read. As an independent, I agree that the process that the Parties go through for presidential elections is rote, but I also think that what makes this election exciting is what's happening on the outskirts of the parties -- the rise of independent voters (and candidates) is a significant departure from the winner-take-all politics-as-usual riff we get at election time. It's early, and non-partisan voices have an opportunity to be heard right now, at least until the election gets totally sewed up....

And while you're there, read The Case For Blogosphere Funding by Chris Bowers, who delivered his message at YearlyKos this morning...

Conversations on Race, Politics and the Blogosphere

Chicago 1968-2007

Here's an important discussion of race and politics from earlier this year: Blackosphere & Whitosphere: Silence is Never Golden on MyDD by Francis L. Holland (now on The Hankster sidebar) who says:

If in 2008 Black people and Latinos fail to vote in sufficient numbers for the Democratic presidential candidate to win Florida and Ohio, then whites will hypothesize endlessly about the "cultural" reasons for Blacks failure to vote. Whites may not ever consider that they simply exercised their majority power within the Party to nominate a candidate whom Blacks and Latinos really did not like very much. Although Black people always vote reliably and overwhelmingly for the Democratic Party, our turnout and, therefore, the election results often depend upon the degree of Blacks enthusiasm for the candidate chosen by the Party. If the Party chooses a candidate whom we do not like, Black activists within the Party find it all the more difficult to mobilize Black voters. So, when you hear Black voters say that a proposed candidate is "just another white [man]", this ought, logically, to give you pause.....
Also discussed at The Field Negro (now on The Hankster sidebar) who says:

Mr. Holland seems to be screaming for more black inclusion in the Whitosphere, and more black links to sites like Daily Kos and My DD etc. This is where my man and I tend to part company. I personally could give a f**k whether My DD or Daily Kos, or any of the other so called white progressive blogs link me or even include me in their discussion. Honestly, their issues aren't my issues. I know they have very strong political beliefs and are tied to the democratic party and it's leaders, but not me, and this is going to surprise some people. But I would just as soon vote for a republican over a democrat if I thought he had my people's best interest at heart....
Is there a "de facto blogger apartheid practiced at prominent "progressive" whitosphere blogs"?

What's happening at YearlyKos? Francis L. Holland will be there (last year he spotted at least 6 black people there...). The National Review calls it the "vast left-wing establishment". On Saturday, Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Mike Gravel and Bill Richardson are set to appear at a forum. They will take questions from two journalists and the audience on foreign policy, domestic policy and philosophy... and they didn't attend the DLC Nashville gathering....