Today is primary day and 3.5 million Flori

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Firestorm over California Proposition 14 open primary initiative continues

Unfortunately IPR has joined other short-sighted third party forces like the Libertarians and Greens (and Ralph Nader) who oppose Prop 14, a referendum that would give rights to independent (decline-to-state) voters in California and provide an open field for all candidates in the first round of voting. Read independent attorney Harry Kresky's HuffPo response to Nader "Why Independents are Right and Ralph Nader is Wrong about Proposition 14."

  • Editorial: IPR Opposes Proposition 14 in California (Independent Political Report)
  • Why Independents are Right and Ralph Nader is Wrong about Proposition 14 (Harry Kresky, Huffington Post)
  • The Great Voter Silencer: Prop 14 (Tom Del Beccaro, CA Repub Vice Chair)
  • Reclaiming Our State Government (By Roger Clark, Fox & Hounds Daily) Californians are angry because we recognize the winds of partisan self-interest have eroded Citizen Power.  Not since the days of Governor Hiram Johnson, who in 1911 successfully championed Citizen Power through enactment of referendum, recall and initiative to overcome the power of the special-interests of the day -- the railroads - have the people been as angry. Our frustration with partisan politics is evident as the ranks of "Decline-to-State" registered voters have swelled to almost twenty-one percent of all voters.
  • Editorial: Effort to shrink state government stalls (THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER) Meanwhile, another initiative approved for the ballot by full-time legislators would make it easier to pass more laws and impose higher taxes. Backers of Proposition 14 on the June ballot would change election laws to create open primaries...
  • RIP part-time Legislature. And danger looms (posted by Mark Landsbaum, Orange County Register/Orange Punch/Freedomblogging - a Libertarian blog) Meanwhile, there’s another initiative the full-time legislators  themselves approved for the ballot: Proposition 14. It  would provide open primaries. The argument for it is that it will remove  the gridlock  that  comes from polarized ideologues in Sacramento. And that means, the  Legislature will find more votes in the mushy middle to do things  like  expand  government even more and impose even more taxes.
  • California NAACP Opposes Proposition 14 (Ballot Access News)
  • Catching up on California Referenda, etc. (William P. Meyers, California Democracy blog) In particular I think that "third" parties will be able to attract more voters in the primaries under Proposition 14, and that should help them build their cores of regular voters.
  • Netflix CEO Puts Cash Down "Open Primary" Rathole (Steve Rankin, Free Citizen blog) I am continually amazed that some independents and small party members support the “top two open primary.” I guess they don’t give a damn about having a chance to elect independents and small party candidates to office, since the final choice in the “top two” is almost always one Democrat and one Republican, two Democrats, OR two Republicans.
  • Obama takes care in sizing up tea party movement (By JENNIFER LOVEN (AP) The president said on NBC's "Today" show that the movement is built around a "core group" of people who question whether he is a U.S. citizen and believe he is a socialist. Beyond that, however, he said he recognizes that the movement involves people with "mainstream, legitimate concerns" about the national debt, government expansion and big spending.
  • Senate bill 'no party' for merger (J.D. Sumner, Albany GA Herald) In the wake of Monday’s discovery of a Georgia House rule that may threaten the passage of a bill calling for consolidation of Albany and Dougherty County based on a clause that would affect the partisanship of those seeking office, The Herald has examined the bill and city records to see how and why partisanship found its way into the bill.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Talk Talk with Fred Newman and Jackie Salit: God, Dodd and Reform

I decided to publish the entire weekly Talk Talk with public philosopher and independent strategist Fred Newman, and CUIP president and NYC Bloomberg Independence Party campaign manager Jackie Salit this week. You can also SUBSCRIBE  to the weekly post.... In any case, please read on:


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Every week CUIP's president Jacqueline Salit and strategist/philosopher Fred Newman watch the political talk shows and discuss them. Here are excerpts from their dialogues compiled on Sunday, March 21, 2010 after watching selections from “The Charlie Rose Show,” “PBS NewsHour” and “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”

Salit: Healthcare, insurance companies, Wall Street…

Newman: Do you know what I was thankful for?

Salit: What?

Newman: That God gave us only 26 letters in the alphabet.

Salit: There’s a lot of “wordage” out there, certainly, and it’s all about regulatory reform. But there’s no talk about why it is that we have so many things that need to be regulated.

Newman: There is a reason.

Salit: And it is?

Newman: The best thing I’ve ever read on this was by Robert Reich, the economist, who pointed out that we have an entirely legalistic lawyer-controlled political culture where no sooner do they pass a law to regulate something, than every company’s board of directors races out of the room, hires a team of lawyers, and comes up with a way to get around those regulations. It takes them about 10 minutes. That’s the world we’re living in. Where business gets reined in for some kind of unscrupulous practice, and in short order they have a counter to it.

Salit: We sure saw that in Senator Chris Dodd’s presentation this week about the Senate Banking Committee’s proposed financial regulatory reform. It’s so interesting. The whole push was that we have to have some kind of independent body that’s going to protect consumers from manipulative and usurious lending practices by the banks. But that falls by the wayside…

Newman: …in about a second…

Salit: …in a second, exactly.

Newman: Actually, here’s what happens. The reformers bring in their proposal. Then everyone in the room laughs hysterically. And they don’t even bother to take a vote. Let’s move on now.

Salit: Let’s move on to which branch of the government, which bureaucracy, which interest group is going to get control of this thing because it is all about who’s going to control the oversight. They want to make sure the “overseeing” doesn’t get out of hand.

Newman: And they have a clerk who keeps a list of who got the last oversight control.

Salit: So they know whose turn it is.

Newman: Exactly.

Salit: Michael Lewis, who wrote “The Big Short,” said in an interview with Charlie Rose ‘Wall Street provides a financial service. It’s supposed to allocate capital. It’s not supposed to destroy wealth or misallocate capital. But, in this situation, they destroyed wealth and they misallocated capital and they’re still being paid huge amounts of money.’

Newman: I agree with that only to this extent: I don’t know why the formulation is “and they’re still.” Why wouldn’t they be “still?” That’s exactly what they’re paid to do.

Salit: He was saying that what they should be paid to do is to allocate capital properly.

Newman: I got you. But properly and improperly are virtually indistinguishable. That’s the explanation of why they got huge bonuses even though they didn’t do their job, according to Lewis. It’s not as if they didn’t allocate capital. They did. It’s not like being a plumber, where if you don’t get the toilet to flush, you don’t get paid. The whole system as it exists is too big to regulate.

Salit: Never mind too big to fail.

Newman: Exactly. It’s too big to regulate. It’s just too big and too complex so that, no matter what happens, they get their bucks. And, the economy is still stumbling along.

Salit: Things are happening. Presumably the stimulus money is getting places and the banking system was stabilized and the job loss has been stemmed. It’s not clear though what the relationship would be between that happening and a new kind of regulatory framework. Everybody’s saying that we can’t set up regulations that prevent some kind of disaster from happening.

Newman: That’s the big lie.

Salit: Because?

Newman: In the most pragmatic sense of the word, they can set up such regulations. They have set them up. It’s what we’re doing now. This is the worst disaster since…

Salit: …the Great Depression…

Newman: …since the times of Cleopatra, or whatever era you might fill in there. And they are dealing with it. So what’s the problem? It might be boring. It might be tedious. It might be incomprehensible. It might be all kinds of things. But that’s how the system works. You have the same old people creating regulations which are, roughly speaking, if you look at the totality of them, equivalent to the regulations that existed last time.

Salit: Hence the Consumer Protection Agency is housed at the Federal Reserve.

Newman: Right, because now it’s their turn.

Salit: So nothing new is happening up there, so to speak.

Newman: That’s my view. It’s ironic, isn’t it? Because the left abstractions, the Marxist abstractions which amount to, It’s always the same under capitalism, and to which people always respond by saying, Oh, you cynics. It’s more complex than that, are actually accurate. It’s not more complex. It is the same old, same old…all the time. Apparently you just have to pay your dues and go through 10 cycles of this before you’re allowed to say that.

Salit: What follows from that?

Newman: Look, from our vantage point, no one’s going to go out and make a revolution in the traditional 19th century sense of that word. But if you have the circumstances, like in the last presidential election where an interesting, although probably unpredictable, conjuncture of things occurred – some highly unusual, explosive, upending things can happen. Some people saw that conjuncture and took advantage of that. That made it possible to elect an African American president. Forget what his views are. Just that he’s African American is something of a revolution. But once that revolution is done, he goes to Washington to produce relatively modest changes, and the Republican Party has a sufficiently strong base – like half the country – so that it can muck things up.

What’s the probability of some consecutive circumstances of the kind which allowed the masses of people to actually participate in something in a mildly radical way? Probability? Zero. What’s the probability of one such conjuncture being sufficiently radical to produce changes large enough to, in turn, produce other changes? Don’t know. That’s what you’re gambling on by investing in the independent political movement. That’s what we’re gambling on. Those are the odds of our bet. Well, I’m content with that. I’m still here. You’re content with it. You’re still here. Are we doing some good stuff along the way? Yes. And that’s good, too, because the likelihood is that’s what we’ll, in fact, accomplish. Does that contribute to these other, larger shifts? Impossible to tell. Is it worth doing in its own right? Yes.

What does this all add up to? I’d say postmodernism is right. This is what it looks like. This is the very stuff we’re trying to figure out a way to talk about because there is no obvious way to talk about it. What do you do with that? Some people turn to God. Some people become super nasty. But everything loses meaning. Then, what do you do with a meaningless world? I don’t know. I like what we’re doing in a meaningless world. We’re trying to do something worthwhile to help people who always get the short end of the stick. That seems like a worthwhile thing to do. And we’re doing it well.

Salit: Have you seen this guy Francis Collins before? He’s the well-known and respected scientist who Charlie Rose interviewed, the author of “The Language of God,” who writes about his belief in God. He says, basically, that science can’t answer the question: Why is there something instead of nothing?

Newman: What’s that supposed to mean?

Salit: It could mean that science hasn’t answered that yet, but that’s the argument for God.

Newman: And that’s supposed to be profound?

Salit: I don’t think it’s supposed to be profound. It’s supposed to be a trump card.

Newman: I don’t know about that. How about pointing out that there is something and there is nothing. There’s something when there’s something and there’s nothing when there’s nothing. So the question, by any standard as far as I’m concerned, is profoundly ill-formed. Where did he go to school, this guy?

Salit: Yale.

Newman: Is that right?

Salit: Yes.

Newman: Well, it’s a theological school.

Salit: Even if he didn’t go to the Divinity School.

Newman: I assure you they’re not asking that question at Stanford, nor at Harvard. The real question is: Why are we taking a question effectively constructed by the Yale Divinity School as the least bit serious?

Salit: I went to Sarah Lawrence so I can’t answer that question.

Newman: I would say that you dropped out of Sarah Lawrence, so you have to!

Salit: Exactly. That’s how I answered the question. I dropped out of Sarah Lawrence.

Newman: There you go. I think that’s a good answer to that!

Salit: Thanks, Fred.

You can reach Fred Newman or Jackie Salit at 212-609-2800 or via email at 

age of aquarius


  • Rolfe Winkler, Open Primaries (Reuters/Capital Zoo/Lunchtime Links 3-29) link to Bob Schieffer's piece and to
  • Prop. 14’s Reform Doesn’t Include Money (by John Wildermuth, Fox & Hounds Daily) No sooner had the Los Angeles Times mentioned that the campaign was on the shorts than Reed Hastings, the Netflix CEO, dropped $257,000 into the effort. The very next day, the governor’s political piggy bank, better known as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s California Dream Team, pumped another $500,000 into the campaign.... There are plenty of financial questions on the opposition side, however. So far, the “No on 14” effort consists of little more than a website and two campaign committees with a total bankroll of $1,000.
  • 2010 Initiative update (BY LANDON BRIGHT, San Diego News Room)
  • Democrats care about the people (Allentown Morning McCall) So are independent voters still important to the Democratic Party in Pennsylvania? You betcha.
  • Mayor Hippie (By Azi Paybarah, NY Observer) Michael Bloomberg dressed as a hippie. Lenora Fulani sitting near Mike Long. Rick Lazio and Ed Cox hugging.
  • Mayor's man favorite for Charter post (By Peter N. Spencer, SI Advance) Peter McDermott / Irish EchoSources tell the Advance that Francis S. Barry, (above) one of Mayor Bloomberg's closest aides, is poised to become the director of the Charter Revision Commission.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Kresky: California Open Primary Proposition 14 Would Help Third Parties

"It's particularly disturbing that at a moment when millions of independents are knocking at the door of an electoral process from which they are excluded, Ralph Nader and the third party movement would want to slam it shut." (From independent attorney Harry Kresky in Sunday's Sac Bee)

What was Ralph Nader thinking? The sometime Green/ sometime independent Presidential candidate who garners less than a percentage point of the vote in 2000, 2004 and 2008 now wants to Stop the Top Two, the popular open primary initiative that will be on the ballot in California June 8.... Thanks to IPR for the heads up about Ralph.

  • Is the Time Ripe For Third-Party and Independent Bids? (By Stuart Rothenberg, Roll Call Contributing Writer, CQ Politics) Independent candidates for governor in at least three states, all of them in New England, are running serious races, and the number of credible non-major-party candidates could grow if Minnesota’s Independence Party nominates someone with serious credentials or personal resources.
  • Crossover voters to be challenged (By Mark Niquette, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH) Voters in Ohio don't pick their party affiliation when they register; it is determined by the party ballot they request in a primary. If they don't vote in primaries or vote only on issues, they are listed as unaffiliated. They are free to request a partisan ballot without question.
  • Greta Browne -- Green Party platform reflects the common good (Morning Call) Reforms -- such as ranked voting (used in the Academy Awards) and open primaries (in Washington state and on the ballot this year in California) -- would allow third parties to garner the votes that represent the true popularity of their positions.
  • Millennials do faith and politics their way (By Stephen Prothero, USA Today blogs) Politically, this same self-reliance drives young people into Unparties — outside-the-box movements such as the "Tea Party" (on the right) and the aborning "Coffee Party" (on the center-left). Whereas 25% of Millennials are religiously unaffiliated, 40% of registered Millennial voters refuse to call themselves either Democrats or Republicans.

Friday, March 26, 2010


  • Could Threats to Democrats Start Scaring Independent Voters Away from the GOP? (UPDATED) (POSTED BY JOE GANDELMAN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, The Moderate Voice)
  • Will health care fight sway independent vote? (By Ed Hornick, CNN) Republicans, Avlon noted, must separate themselves from fringe groups in order to appeal to the crucial independent voters as the 2010 midterm elections approach.
  • A measure of history (By Kenneth W. Mack, Boston Globe) If members of Congress are more independent, voters are too. Just a short time ago, the conventional wisdom among historians was that blocks of voters remained loyal to one party for long periods of time, with periodic realignments that could make possible such policy innovations as the New Deal. Today, however, many voters now affiliate themselves with neither party and seem up for grabs.
  • Meg Whitman widens lead over Jerry Brown (Stanislaus County Political Buzz Examiner, Michael McGuire) Whitman's gain is particularly pronounced among independent voters, PPIC reported. In January, Brown had an 8 point lead over Whitman among independents. She now has a 6-point lead among independents.
  • Empower the middle (Doug Clark, Greensboro News Record) It's time to make in easier for independents to get on the ballot. It's time to form an independent commission to draw districts that aren't designed to favor Democrats here and Republicans there.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

march 25, 1911

TODAY'S NEWS HEADLINES for INDEPENDENT VOTERS - Health Care Reform, Open Primaries

Health Care Reform fallout -- it's about the independents. Arizona Repubs: Independents need not apply. California Proposition 14 open primary initiative has 56% approval to 27% opposition. Only 5% of Tea Party activists consider themselves independent. NY Times commentator Thomas Friedman supports ranked voting. ACORN reorganizes operations. Kinston NC struggles for nonpartisan elections. Kathleen Curry and Joelle Riddle shake up Colorado politics. NYC Charter Revision Commission gets underway. NY State Sen. Pedro Espada stumps for farm workers.

  • CA: The Voters That Might Sway Elections (Posted By John Myers, KQED/Capital Notes) When asked about hypothetical matchups between each of the three Republicans and the incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer, the feelings of another subgroup of voters are worth noting: independents, the single fastest growing group of voters in the state.
  • Obama and GOP battle for independent voters (By: JULIE MASON, Washington Examiner White House Correspondent)
  • Independent voter growth showing its muscle (By Charles Deal | Special to the Hickory Record)
  • Doug Clark: The feds could find business here, too (By DOUG CLARK, Greensboro News Record) Of course, most North Carolina cities and towns hold nonpartisan elections. Greensboro does. Is that a violation of civil rights? Could last November's defeat of Yvonne Johnson, Greensboro's first black mayor, be blamed on nonpartisan voting? If she'd been identified on the ballot as a Democrat, and Bill Knight as a Republican, would more voters have figured out they were supposed to vote for her? Please, let's not ask the Justice Department to answer that.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

VIDEO: NYC Independence Party Chief Cathy Stewart Comments on Charter Revision Commission - Examine Nonpartisan Elections

Dr. Matthew Goldstein, Chair of the newly appointed (by Mayor Bloomberg) NYC Charter Revision Commission suggested making "our civic life more participatory and representative" one of the core values of the commission in considering any changes at the commission's first meeting on March 18.

Cathy Stewart, chief organizer for the NYC Independence Party organizations applauded the commission for its rigorous timetable and said the NYCIP will push aggressively for consideration of putting a referendum on nonpartisan elections on the ballot.

Youth from across the city, organized by All Stars Project Director of Youth Programs Pam Lewis, distributed flyers to attendees asking the commission to hold its first public hearing at Thomas Jefferson High School to demonstrate a commitment to involving young people. 25% of independent voters are between the ages of 18 and 29 and as independents are excluded from voting in primaries in NYC.

TODAY'S NEWS HEADLINES for INDEPENDENT VOTERS - More on the Health Care Reform Vote, CA Proposition 14

  • Independent living: Curry enjoys life as a former Democrat (John Colson, Post Independent) Zimsky said last week that the judge is considering motions from both sides, and that he is hoping for a decision on the case in May, which could be in time to get both Riddle's and Curry's name on the ballot in November.
  • Cuomo Leads Big (National Journal/Hotline) A majority of NYers want Cuomo to run for GOV rather than for re-election, the poll shows, including 58% of independent voters.

Monday, March 22, 2010

TODAY'S NEWS HEADLINES for INDEPENDENT VOTERS - Health Care and Charter Revision



  • Hayworth Closes in on McCain (PAUL CRAFT, Frum Forum) Among liberal and moderate Republicans, however, McCain has a wide lead. If the Arizona GOP primary is closed off from independent voters, as state party officials hope, the primary might be dominated by the anti-McCain conservative party base.





Californians For An Open Primary Announce Association Of California School Administrators Endorsement

This just in:

Today, the California Association of School Administrators (ACSA) joined statewide opinion leaders AARP and Cal Chamber in endorsing Proposition 14 – the reform measure that will change Sacramento by changing the people Californians send there to represent them.

"ACSA supports the idea of an open primary," said ACSA Executive Director Bob Wells. "For far too many years we have seen legislative gridlock, especially when it comes to passing the budget. The Legislature has become highly partisan, so getting things accomplished in the Capitol has become increasingly challenging. In these tough times we need more legislators who will work together to reach acceptable compromises and move the state forward."
ACSA’s endorsement comes just days after an appellate court delivered the final blow to partisan politicians when they rejected a last-minute attempt to re-write the ballot title and summary for Proposition 14.
Open primaries will ensure all voters have equal access to the same ballot and will encourage competition among candidates and put pragmatic leaders in the Capitol.

from Amanda Fulkerson (818-823-1108) at Yes On 14

democracy without independent voters is like a day without sunshine....

and with perhaps less traffic...

Update: CA Proposition 14 - A Question of Democracy and Inclusion of Independent Voters

The latest round-up of news about California's open primary initiative, Proposition 14, which will be on the ballot June 8. Partisans showed their true colors last week with back-room deals and litigation on the ballot wording. Prominent independent attorney Harry Kresky's commentary on HuffPo "Words Matter" sheds lots of light on the nature of our democracy. And Phil Keisling, Oregon's former Sec. of State who went to bat for that state's Measure 65 which would have opened the primaries to voters who don't choose to affiliate with a party, has a neat idea to Reduce Partisanship in today's NY Times. Go Team Open Primaries!


Sunday, March 21, 2010

nyc charter revision commission - yo!

how about a hearing at Thomas Jefferson HS??
All Stars youth...

Mayor Bloomberg's NYC Charter Revision Commission: Core Values and Youth Participation

Ok, pop-quiz: who stole the show at the first meeting of the recently appointed NYC Charter Revision Commission?

Answer: NYC youth!

NYC Charter Revision Commission held it's first meeting March 18 in Brooklyn at the New York City College of Technology. Chairman Dr. Matthew Goldstein, Chair, is Chancellor of the City University of New York, who set an aggressive timetable to consider changes to the city's charter. Chairman Goldstein suggested making "our civic life more participatory and representative" one of the core values of the commission in considering any changes. NYC Independence Party Organizations spokesperson Cathy Stewart applauded the commission for its rigorous timetable and said the NYCIP will push aggressively for consideration of putting a referendum on nonpartisan elections on the ballot. A number of youth from across the city, organized by All Stars Project Director of Youth Programs Pam Lewis, distributed flyers to attendees asking the commission to hold its first public hearing at Thomas Jefferson High School to demonstrate a commitment to involving young people, 25% of whom are independent and are excluded from voting in primaries in NYC.


The Hankster Live-Blogging Health Care Debate and Congressional Vote

10:45pm EDT - Congress did it -- they passed a bill for health care reform. 219 Dem votes, (34 Dems against) Repubs 178 against and somehow the "independent" is missing...  Quite a hub-bub in our nation's capital....

10:30pm EDT - Pelosi just finished speaking... continued motions and opinions and requests... [who knew there were so many rules to governing the nation?!...] this is a "15 minute vote" (?) not sure what that means.... Commentary by C-Span is trying to explain about passage and failure.... during the next hour or so. Votes needed: 236 for HR 3590 (I think).... Again you can follow live coverage here, and think more about it here, and then around 11pm (EDT) be sure to see Dr. Omar Ali, TMV's Joe Gandelman and Nicole Kurokawa with Don Lemon on CNN...

10:11pm EDT – Just spoke with Joe Gandelman after the CNN taping of independents on the issue of health care reform (Don Lemon) — tune in to CNN at 11pm EDT. Get the independent view point!
10:07pm EDT – Rep John Boehner (R-OH) grandstanding about the House of Representatives being a broken house; gavel “both sides of the house would do well to remember the dignity of the House”
8:12pm EDT — Congressman Dennis Kucinich  statement on healthcare and the American people and the meaning of supporting President Obama.

8:31pm EDT - quietness on the floor of the US House.  Now resume the partisan, more or less socialist-moderate-anti-socialist statements...

8:26pm EDT - HR 3590 HR 4872 - the right to have insurance, end abusive practices by insurance companies, the nightmare ends tonight...

8:24pm EDT - Jim McDermott (D-MO) speaking in favor... Dean Heller (R-NV) against. I'm going to pay attention to what the partisans are saying....

8:12pm EDT -- Congressman Dennis Kucinich statement on healthcare and the American people and the meaning of supporting President Obama.

8:03pm - Joe Gandelman will be a guest on CNN tonight as part of an independent panel hosted by Don Lemon. Just spoke with Dr. Omar Ali - next up on CNN Don Lemon at 7:30pm -- consideration of the expected approval of health care reform, which he called a "historic reform", how can President Obama now turn his attention to reform of the political system itself. Dr. Ali thinks that the American people are becoming more aware of the process itself and the impact of that process on our national policy. Tune in to CNN at 7:30pm EDT

7:50 EDT - John Lewis speak vigorously in support

7:47pm EDT -- Congressman Rangel (D-NY) speaking about his privilege to serve. Oh, that's right, let's have a look at Dennis Kucinich's

7:31pm EDT -- Looking for Don Lemon's CNN independent panel - here's the live CNN channel

6:46 EDT - getting serious now, Rep Steny Hoyer (D-MD) speaking about this bill... and how health care was cheaper and less partisan in the past... A bi-partisan objective- affordable health care for all...

6:29 EDT - seems the resolution has another 5 minutes to vote. don't really understand the rules of the house, but they seem to be making their way through this....

6:28 EDT - one minute left to discuss....

6:03pm - Just spoke with Dr. Omar Ali - next up on CNN Don Lemon at 7:30pm -- consideration of the expected approval of health care reform, which he called a "historic reform", how can President Obama now turn his attention to reform of the political system itself. Dr. Ali thinks that the American people are becoming more aware of the process itself and the impact of that process on our national policy. Tune in to CNN at 7:30pm EDT Don't miss panelist Joe Gandelman of The Moderate Voice

5:38: Louise Slaughter votes yes; voice vote no. Roll call vote on the rule proceeding, proposal to suspend the rules. etc... Again, please tune in to C-SPAN and read Jackie Salit/ Fred Newman's Talk Talk on the issue of healthcare and our partisan gridlock....

5:35pm -- Closing remarks by Rep David Dreier (R-CA) starting out with pro-individualist/ anti-democratic solution... "common-sense proposals"... urge to vote no

NOTE: "Our" congressmen/women seem to think that their party registration and possible history of carrying coffee for their superiors equates with democracy. Stay tuned...

ROLLCALL BREAK:  If you haven't yet read Jackie Salit and Fred Newman's Talk Talk "Healthcare: The Final Act" do so while the Dems and Repubs put out their pretty much partisan votes... and watch live C-SPAN coverage here...

5:01pm -- Repubs roll call, saying "ask unanimous support to revise my remarks in regard to this flawed health care bill...

4:57pm -- ongoing bipartisan hack-spout... support/oppose... uhhh would there be any other choice give the 2-party frozen storm?

4:47pm - Phil Gingrey (R-GA) sites vote in 1993

4:46pm -- Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) sites personal family health issues

4:40pm -- So is the deal between Obama and Stupak over abortion the deal-maker?

4:39pm -- Virginia Foxx (R-NC) talking about increased cost and complete take-over of health care system

4:32pm -- Alcee Hastings (D-FL) Count me in as a radical. We must do what we think is morally right.

4:09pm - Rep. Slaughter (D-NY) is now referencing the people who spit at Rep. Barney Frank. She is putting to rest the contention that conservatives have the upper hand... Does Louise Slaughter have a southern accent, or am I crazy? Louise is in favor! Yea!

4:06pm -- Point of order was approved so we will now hear from Congressman Stupak. I have to say I had no idea that Jesse Jackson, Jr. was the speaker of the House. Has been over-mediaed by the Speaker of the Senate...? Louise Slaughter, D-NY of the Rules Committee speaking, again interrupted by Speaker -- lots of "rowdiness" -- being asked to take their conversations outside to the cloakroom. Are we in primary school in the 1800's????

4:05pm -- Stupak about to speak.

3:50 - Politico says Stupak and WH have resolved abortion issue....

3:46pm - That's Jesse Jackson, Jr. at the gavel, now have cut to pro and con protests outside the US Capitol...

Against my better judgement (and perhaps the advice of Fred Newman in the recent Talk Talk "Healthcare: The Final Act" with Jackie Salit and Fred Newman) The Hankster will be following the vote today on President Obama's health care reform bill in Congress.

3:14pm - there's a really contentious fight on the floor of the House right now about procedures and the guy who's wielding the gavel is hitting the sound block is Very Busy! You can see live coverage from C-SPAN here. I'm gonna find out who he is, but he has his arms folded tightly across his body for good reason!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

California Proposition 14: Rights of People vs. Rights of Parties - The Second American Revolution attorney Harry Kresky's piece today on HuffPo Words Matter: Voters to Get Fair Wording of California Open Primary Initiative is a gem. Read it, and re-read it, and then read it to your friends!
The assertion of such a right by the parties raises a fundamental question about the nature of our democracy. Does it rest on the rights of voters or on the rights of parties? On one level the answer is simple. The Constitution makes no mention of political parties. The Bill of Rights speaks of the "rights of the people," not of the parties. After all, it is the people who organize the parties, so how could the rights of the parties they organize trump theirs?
We face a challenge every day in this country -- move forward, or stay here? And "stay here" increasingly means going backwards.

In the very early days of our American revolution,  soon after the independent forces won, George Washington warned us about the "baneful effects of party".  In that spirit, let's continue the struggle.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

think irish

Obama, Health Care and the Media: Stop the Presses!

Every week CUIP's president Jacqueline Salit and strategist/philosopher Fred Newman watch the political talk shows and discuss them. Here are excerpts from their dialogues compiled on Sunday, March 14, 2010 after watching selections from “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” “The Charlie Rose Show,” “PBS NewsHour,” “On the Record With Greta Van Susteren” and “Meet the Press.” You can subscribe here

...Newman: It’s about whether the president, who seems to be something of a leftist, who controlled both the House and the Senate, could pass what is, by any reasonable account, a center-left bill.

Salit: Yes.

Newman: And that’s a big political issue. Because he should be able to. But it’s questionable whether he will be able to......

.....Salit: Well, my guess is that from this point on, the news coverage is going to resemble what happens at a sporting event. Play by play, and that sort of thing.

Newman: If I was a media person, I’d stop covering this. I’d protest and not cover it anymore, and just say, Decide something already, you’re the Congress. When you decide something, we’ll come back and cover you. Until then, no coverage. That would be principled, I think....

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Another Win for Independent Voters: California Court of Appeals Says No to Proposition 14 Opponents

California Court of Appeals says no to Proposition 14 opponents, which is good news for independent voters. Open primaries gaining support in Pennsylvania and Illinois. Rock on!