May 31, 2011

Business Insider: Libertarianism Won't Tend My Lawn

From Business Insider:
I wandered over the Libertarian Party and I found their Platform. I'm sure there are a few items here and there with which some libertarians disagree, but in general, it seems to me to be a pretty fair representation of libertarian beliefs, so I encourage you to read the whole thing. That said, I do not believe libertarians live up to their stated beliefs. Here's the first sentence of the pre-amble:

As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others.

To that end, of course, the libertarian philosophy also seeks to minimize government, in particular, government coercion . . .

And it is precisely here - in the first sentence of the pre-amble, and its implications, where libertarians go off the rails. Consider the following... my neighbor, whom we have never met and might not even have seen (we're not certain) despite living in this house for two years, seems to enjoy letting her lawn grow uncontrollably . . . 

CA: Local Green Growth Spurt

From Green Party Watch:
The San Fernando Valley Green Party has seen a recent surge of outreach, networking, and coalition building; this is how a grassroots movement is built. Our principles of social justice, environmental responsibility, grassroots democracy, and non-violence will prove to be the way of the future if we are to build the party in the next few years, and I am confident people will not give up to reach an attainable goal of informing our fellow citizens about the importance of the Green Party and the voting power we all hold. So with that, here are some of the thing that we have been working on…

May 26, 2011

Constitution Party Drafts Resolution in Opposition to Top Two Style Primary

From the Constitution Party of Missouri:
Whereas, popular dissatisfaction with the Democrat and Republican parties has never been higher and demand for more political change has never been greater, and
Whereas, in a Top Two election system all candidates for an office run against each other in the first round of voting, the two candidates with the most votes in the first round are nominated to move on to the final election, and in the final election between two candidates, the candidate with the most votes wins, and
Whereas, calls for Top Two election methods claim election efficiency and more representative candidates, but implementation of such systems has effectively limited choices for voters, therefore be it
Resolved, that the Constitution Party stands opposed to all Top Two election systems which result in limiting the choices for voters in general elections, and be it further
Resolved, the Constitution Party stands in unity with the principles espoused by The Free and Equal Elections Foundation and other like minded groups in opposing implementation of Top Two election systems and be it further
Resolved, the Constitution Party supports legal, legislative, and political action to repeal and rescind California and Washington “Top Two” election laws.

Constitution Party Discussion: Should Muslims have the same religious rights as other Americans?

Apparently, some elements in the Constitution Party are not very enthusiastic about extending constitutional protections to certain people.  From the Constitution party discussion forum:
There will come a time in this great country when we will have to question and decide: “Should Islam have the same religious freedom that the rest of us enjoy?” I know that Islam and those who want to see America destroyed will say “Yes”. They will quote the constitution and say “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

For some time this troubled me because it appeared that Islam can use our own constitution to take over America. However, I now do not believe Islam should have the same religious rights . . .

In Defense of the National Security Police State

Rep. Steve King is the quasi-fascist head of the House Homeland Security Committee.  If there is any police state measure that the likes of King would oppose, news of it has yet to come across our desks.  In defense of the national security police state, and routine violations of constitutional rights and liberties, King defends the Patriot Act in a recent op-ed by arguing on the basis of fiction.  Literally.  Excerpt:
If a roving wiretap is good enough for Tony Soprano, it’s good enough for Mohamed Atta.
Is King aware that The Sopranos was not reality television?

May 25, 2011

A Political Word Puzzle

From The Daily Nexus:
Can you think of two separate words that perfectly divide and encapsulate the beliefs, preferences and characteristics of 300 million different people? No? Well then, how lucky are we that our country’s government has been able to base its entire decision-making process on that very concept. There may have been a time when it really meant something to be a Democrat or Republican (say, when the parties were first founded so that like-minded people could band together in order to give their collective interests a larger voice), but when your group’s membership begins to number in the tens of millions, acting like everyone’s desires are exactly the same becomes something of a charade . . .

NY-26: Independent Pulls 9% in Special Election

From Ballot Access News:
On May 24, New York voters filled the vacant U.S. House seat, 26th district. The results are: 48% for the Democratic nominee, 42% for the Republican nominee, 9% to Jack Davis (the independent candidate with the Tea Party label), and 1% for Ian Murphy, the Green Party nominee.

May 24, 2011

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of (Party-List) Proportional Representation :Lessons from Britain’s 2009 European Elections!

I summarize a review of the use of PR in the UK in 2009 and point out how if 3-seated LR Hare and Alternative Vote (IRV) were used together to elect four M(E)Ps per mega-district then the goods would be retained while the bads would be significantly reduced.

Media Ignore Green Party Candidate for Sheriff

From a letter to the editor of
In an article Tuesday ("Marge looking at end of her city reign?"), Bob Warner noted that "in the fall, [Jewell] Williams will face Republican Joshua West" in the race for sheriff. That's true, but Williams will also face the Green Party candidate, Cheri Honkala.

The fact that the Green Party was not in the primary, or that Honkala's candidacy could be judged a long shot, does not mean her candidacy is not newsworthy.

Honkala is running to shift the focus of the Sheriff's Office away from selling foreclosed houses and evicting people to an advocacy for the poor and middle class who have suffered from the mortgage and financial debacle. Honkala says she will not evict people or sell foreclosed homes.

Interestingly, Williams' posters and lawn signs are not the usual Democratic blue. They are green. Moreover, in a recent debate, Williams seemed to borrow some of Honkala's Green Party ideas. It is to be hoped that, in the future, your newspaper will give the Honkala campaign better coverage.

John Grant
Honkala For Sheriff Campaign
Plymouth Meeting
Check out Honkala's Facebook page.

NYT Profiles Communist, Socialist and Democratic Socialists of America

From the New York Times:
In some ways, the Left remains locked in place. Its three major national parties are still confined to cramped Manhattan offices that are plastered with gaudy posters and honeycombed with pamphlets for distribution and envelopes for stuffing.

But in other ways the landscape has changed significantly. All three parties are finding the Internet to be a fruitful recruiting tool and believe their message has been given a fresh, beguiling appeal by the failures of capitalist symbols like Lehman Brothers and by debacles like the billions of dollars in securities tied to subprime mortgages.

“The economic crisis of 2008 gave us new life,” said Billy Wharton, a co-chairman of the Socialist Party, who grew enamored of socialism while battling tuition increases as a student at the College of Staten Island. “We have ideas for resolving the economic crisis, and people began to listen to them.” . . . .

PA: Republican Party Judge is Declared Enemy of Free Elections

From Politics PA:
Both the Pennsylvania Green and Libertarian Party representatives slammed the GOP’s choice for Superior Court judge, Vic Stabile, citing his efforts as a Republican party official to knock third party candidates off of ballots in PA.

The Pennsylvania Libertarian Party chair Lou Jasikoff called it “shameful.” . . . “Mr. Stabile led the charge to get Libertarians knocked off the ballot in 2008 and was recently quoted as being pleased by efforts to keep the Green and Libertarian Parties from appearing on the statewide 2010 ballot." . . .

Candidates from several third parties expressed their displeasure at Stabile. Carl Romanelli, the US Senate candidate in 2006 for the Pennsylvania Green Party, has long contended that his own removal from the ballot could not have been accomplished without the aid of partisan judges.

“The last defense of democracy and the Constitution is the judiciary. When it is corrupted or co-opted, it represents the most significant threat to the principles that once made America the grand protector of liberty,” said Romanelli. “The lack of meaningful review reflects as poorly on justice in Pennsylvania as does Stabile’s blatant obstruction of our rights. It is sad to think that the cradle of democracy, Pennsylvania, has now become its graveyard.”

Wayne Allyn Root, the 2008 Vice-Presidential candidate on the Libertarian ticket, stated that Mr. Stabile’s actions not to be tolerated. He called them “Unamerican”

Independent Marginalized by Mainstream Press in NY-26

From the Suffolk County Liberty Report:
Voters in New York’s 26th Congressional District in Western New York are preparing to vote in a special election May 24th to replace disgraced Republican Representative Chris Lee, the married “Craig’s List Congressman” whose solicitations of women on the internet was exposed earlier this year.

The race, which should be a slam-dunk for the GOP, is instead a more closely contested three-way race because self-financed faux “Tea Party” candidate Jack Davis has done well in the district. A Siena College poll taken April 26th-27th, the most recent, reliable, independent poll, showed none of the three candidates with a majority. The leader was Republican Jane Corwin (36%), followed by Democrat Kathy Hochul (31%) and Davis, the “Tea Party” independent,(27%). The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points, so the two major party candidates could be in a dead heat, but only because of Davis’ strong showing as an independent.

To read reports from the New York Times and the Associated Press, though, one would think this was only a two-way race. Davis, whose populist, anti-NAFTA, anti-immigrant, anti-Wall Street message has played fairly well among rank-and-file Republican voters, is barely mentioned in most news stories. The 27% Davis polls, and which comes mostly from Republican voters, isn’t mentioned at all. Instead, the liberal media portray the Davis’ candidacy as merely a “complicating factor”, practically a statistical blip in the scheme of things . . .

May 23, 2011

OH Action Alert: Libertarians Fight to Stay on Ballot

Former Libertarian Party candidate for Congress in Ohio, Travis Irvine, asks Ohioans to pressure their state representatives to stop an anti-third party ballot access provision from being written into the state's election code.  From the LP Ohio:
Ohio SB 148: Ask your Senator to amend Ohio Revised Code 3517.01 to allow for "Resonable Ballot Access Provisions."

As you should already know, the Ohio Senate is voting Tuesday on a bill which will effectively eliminate the Libertarian Party from appearing on the ballot. The next 2 days are the most important in Ohio Libertarian Party history. It's more important than voting twice per year. We need every soldier to put in every spare hour they have. Skip sleeping and have some coffee. I have included some tools to help in the fight.

First is a list of all the talk radio stations in Ohio. It includes the time that they have call in hours on Monday. The information is as accurate as I can find, so double check. If you don't have a station close to you at they time you can call, then call a station across the state. If you search for the call letters, you can find their site where they usually have a "listen live" on your computer option. That list is below.

Second is a tool to find out who your state senator is. Call, fax, email, and then call again. Just enter your zip code or address where it says "Find Your Candidates"to find out who your Senator is. The link:

Third is a link to the story about what Michael Johnston told House and Senate committees last week. There are links in the story to his power point presentation, his talking points, and the legislation. That link is:

Fourth; the Libertarian Party of Ohio facebook page has a discussion tab at the top. I started a discussion there where we can post notes to each other. Find a friendly radio host? Post it. Know a Senator that is on board (or not)? Post it. Any other strategies? Post it. Here is the link:

Finally, post comments on all you favorite blogs. Post comments at online news paper sites.

Cynthia McKinney in Libya and Iran

Former Democratic Congresswoman and Green party candidate for president, Cynthia McKinney, has recently been interviewed by Libyan state TV and Iran's Press TV.  From CNN:
A former U.S. congresswoman slammed U.S. policy on Libyan state TV late Saturday and stressed the "last thing we need to do is spend money on death, destruction and war."

The station is fiercely loyal to Moammar Gadhafi and her interview was spliced with what appeared to be rallies in support of the embattled Libyan leader.

"I think that it's very important that people understand what is happening here. And it's important that people all over the world see the truth. And that is why I am here ... to understand the truth," former Rep. Cynthia McKinney said during a live interview . . . .
And from Iran's Press TV:
The political process in the United States is more responsive to the special interests of the country's two major parties than it is to the wishes of the Americans, says a former US Congresswoman.

In an interview with Press TV, Cynthia McKinney, a former US Congresswoman, commented on the political atmosphere in the United States. The following is the transcript of the interview:

Press TV: You have been here in Iran for a couple of days now with this anti-terrorism seminar. Give us a brief explanation of your overall thoughts about that seminar.

McKinney: I think it was a wonderful experience for me. Of course this is the first time I have ever been to Iran, and there are many perceptions out there, particularly in the United States, about the character of the state of Iran.

I got a chance to see and greet, firsthand, Iranians in their own setting; in their own homes. For me this has been not only an interesting, but an enlightening experience.

The conference itself brought people from all over the world. More than one hundred countries were represented. I was able to network and interact with my sister from Venezuela; my brother from Bolivia; my brothers from Africa; there were people from North America, South America, Asia; you name it -- all the four corners on the planet were represented at this conference. And the thing that brought us together was our singular interest in peace and justice. . . .

May 22, 2011

A Critique of Pure IRV.

There was a recent bill proposed to enable the use of Rank Choice Voting, or Instant Runoff Voting, in Minnesota. I proposed again a tweaked version of IRV that simplifies the vote-tabulation process with the use of a modified form of Approval Voting for the first stage.

I got a good feeling about this one...

UK: Independence Party Reaches Out to Members of Former Libertarian Party

From the UK Independence Party:
Following news of the proposed deregistration of the Libertarian Party of the UK, UKIP Executive Chairman Steve Crowther has said that the party will extend a warm welcome to former LPUK members who wish to join or rejoin UKIP.

"The values and beliefs of UKIP and the Libertarian Party are very closely aligned," he said. "While we may not agree on everything, our shared commitment to freedom, personal responsibility and minimal government interference in our lives is absolutely clear. UKIP is a party making real progress, under a new management team, and is now firmly established as the ‘fourth force’ in British politics.

"Now is the time for all libertarians to put our shoulders to the same wheel. Former LPUK members will be able to make a valuable contribution to our mission to wrest power from the political elites in this country, and hand it back to the people."

MN: Libertarian Party Opposes GOP Measure to Ban Gay Marriage

From the LPMN:

In an unusual action, the Libertarian Party of Minnesota held a special meeting on May 7 to consider a response to the anti-liberty legislation now being proposed by Republican legislators in the Minnesota House and Senate.

By an 11-0 vote, the LPMN Executive Committee unanimously passed a resolution opposing a constitutional amendment that would prohibit gays from becoming married.

The proposed Gay Marriage Ban would expand government control and restrict the freedom of consenting adults to live their own lives as they choose. Libertarians believe that marriage is a private matter between individuals . . .

May 20, 2011

Trumka to Call for Independent Labor Movement

From The Hill:
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka will say Friday that workers want an “independent” labor movement designed to help the working class, not a specific party or candidate.

In a speech at the National Press Club, the head of the nation’s largest labor federation will say that unions intend to focus their 2012 political efforts not based on lawmakers’ party affiliation but rather their stance on issues near and dear to labor.

An Indpenendent Mayor for Philadelphia?

From Uncovered Politics:

The polls had barely closed last night when former Philadelphia mayor John F. Street told the local Fox affiliate that he’s seriously considering challenging Mayor Michael Nutter as an independent candidate in the autumn mayoral election.
Nutter easily defeated T. Milton Street, John Street’s older and arguably more colorful brother, in yesterday’s Democratic primary, garnering nearly 76 percent of the vote and carrying every ward in the city.
“I am not prepared to make an announcement at this particular time, but nothing that happened in the election today at all is discouraging when it comes to the possibility of an independent running for mayor,” Street defiantly told Fox29 . . .

OH: Voting Disqualifies Independent Candidate for Mayor

From The Chronicle Telegram:
Tim Quinn, who is running for mayor of Elyria as an independent, voted in the city’s Democratic primary earlier this month, a move that could cost him his place on the November ballot.

Lorain County Board of Elections Director Paul Adams said that according to the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office, independent candidates aren’t supposed to vote in partisan primaries after filing to run as independents. They are also barred from being members of a political party’s central or executive committees when they declare themselves independents.

Why Not Local 'Lection Rules for Local 'Lections?

I propose letting local districts determine their own election rules from the smorgasbord of options available to help us to learn by doing more often about the ways different election rules work.


May 19, 2011

Greens Consider New Outreach Effort on Facebook

From Green Party Watch:

The Green Party has not been able to appeal to Americans at large, plain and simple. The spoiler argument, wasting your vote, The Green Party who, What the hell is the Green Party . . . You guys get the idea. That’s why I propose the following: the creation of 3 brand new Facebook pages to be headed by Green Party members who happen to have a little extra time on their hands. This is what I would ideally like to name the pages…
“Democrats for the Green Party”
“Republicans for the Green Party”
“Independents for the Green Party”
I really believe this idea could take off because we could present the Green Party platform to up to 500 million facebook users . . .

Greens Call for Passage of Sanders' Bill

From On the Wilder Side:
The Green Party called for national support for legislation intoduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (Ind.-Vt.) for a single-payer national health system (Medicare For All) and urged Congress to reject Republican and Democratic plans to scale back Medicare.

“The Sanders bill does what needs to be done — it eliminates the control by health insurance companies over our medical care,” said Dr. John Battista, former Green Party candidate for state representative in Connecticut and co-author of his state’s single-payer legislation in 1999 (the Connecticut Health Care Security Act).  “Insurance companies pad the cost of health care by as much as 31% for profits, CEO salaries, and other unnecessary overhead such as managing care, while restricting and denying care to make even more money.  As a result, over 45 million Americans have no coverage, millions more have inadequate coverage, and the US has the most expensive, least cost-effective health system of all industrial democracies in the world.  For-profit health care has consistently been shown to result in poorer quality health care, and should be abolished, not subsidized.  International experience shows that single-payer improves health care while reducing costs, eliminating managed care, and providing increased access.” . . .

AR: Libertarians File to Form State Party

From the Tolbert Report:
It looks like the Green Party  is going to get some company in the third party category as the Libertarian Party took one of the first steps in establishing themselves in Arkansas.  According to their press release, they submitted 16,139 signatures to the Secretary of State, well over of the required 10,000 amount.

Germany: Country's First Green Party Governor Wants "a Quiet Revolution"

From Der Spiegel, an interview with Winfried Kretschmann:
Winfried Kretschmann, 62, is the new governor of Baden-Württemberg and the first-ever leader of a German state from the Green Party. In a SPIEGEL interview, he talks about redefining economic growth, his plans to make industry more environmentally friendly and the future of nuclear power in Germany.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Kretschmann, you have just become governor of Baden-Württemberg, the first-ever state governor from the Green Party in Germany. Baden-Württemberg has the strongest economic growth of all of Germany's 16 states, as well as the second-lowest rate of unemployment and the third-healthiest public finances. Can someone who governs a state like that simply sit back and say: Keep up the good work?

Kretschmann: No.

SPIEGEL: Why not?

Kretschmann: Because our prosperity is merely on loan. Our entire economy and lifestyle are incompatible with our economic foundation. We're facing the challenge of the century. If we want to maintain our prosperity in the long term, we must find a way to reconcile environmental protection and economics. So where better to start than here? . . . 

May 18, 2011

Party Preference and Voter-Nominated Offices: the Incoherence of Partisan Designation in California's Top Two Primary System

Cross-posted from Poli-Tea:

Yesterday was the first special election for a US House seat under California's new "top two" primary system . . . For many supporters of alternatives to the Democratic-Republican two-party duopoly, the difference between a general election with two Democrats, or two Republicans, or one of each on the ballot, is likely negligible to non-existent.  Unsurprisingly, there are a number of lawsuits pending against the top two style primary.  Among them are one in Washington state challenging the constitutionality of the top two system as such, and at least two in California challenging a number of provisions specific to the legal scaffolding of the Golden State's newly-instituted system.  For an extensive discussion of the suits, see this presentation by Richard Winger and Gautam Dutta filmed at the general assembly of the Green party of California earlier this month.

Dutta is the attorney representing the plaintiffs in one of the lawsuits against California's system.  One of the plaintiffs in that suit, Michael Chamness, was a candidate in the special primary election for the 36th Congressional District in California.  Though a member of the newly-formed Coffee Party, Chamness was forced to state on the ballot that he has "no party preference" because the Coffee Party is not one of the six parties officially recognized by the state (i.e. Democrat, Republican, American Independent, Green, Peace and Freedom, and Libertarian).  Chamness's suit thus claims that the implementing law for the top two primary forces him to lie to voters.  Under California's old system, he would at least have been allowed to identify himself as "independent." 

Under the implementing law for California's top two system – namely, Senate Bill 6, passed as part of a late night budget deal in February 2009 – the partisan labeling system thus privileges the category of party and then narrows the definition of party to include only a small number of such groups, with a high bar to maintain inclusion in the set of permitted partisan designations.  Even despite the claims in Chamness's suit, this might appear reasonable enough to some observers.  But there remains an underlying contradiction between these rules and the overall logic of the primary system itself.

The law implementing California's Proposition 14 replaced the old party-nominated/partisan system of offices with what is termed a "voter-nominated" system of offices.  See this release from the Secretary of State contrasting the two systems.  Under the old system, the winner of a particular party's primary election became that party's official nominee.  This is not the case under top two.  The candidates on yesterday's ballot in CA-36, for instance, do not technically represent their parties.  Party designations reflect only the individual affiliation of the given candidate, not an official endorsement from the party.  Nor does their election in a primary mean that they become the "official" candidate of their chosen party.  It is for this reason that you can end up with a choice between two candidates from the same party on the general election ballot.  See this release from the Secretary of State on voter-nominated offices.  

As candidates under California's top two primary system are no longer running for a partisan office, but rather a voter-nominated office, the partisan labeling scheme limiting the party designations that a given candidate may choose from to describe him- or herself on the ballot must be considered an anachronism of the old system and should be abolished.  The new system has changed the very nature of the office, but this change is not coherently reflected in the partisan labeling system utilized on the ballot.

Read the whole thing.

It is Time for the Tea Party to Declare its Independence from the GOP

From the Constitution Party of West Virginia:
The Tea Party needs to make a choice, but not from within the two-party system that Palin claims we are stuck with. The Tea Party needs to decide right now whether they are going to let this movement be stolen by failed establishment candidates, or whether or not it is going to press forward and elect independent and third party candidates.

We do have choices, and they are not limited to Republicans and Democrats. The Tea Party, from its beginning, was formed in response to the failure of both parties to listen to the will of the people. For Sarah Palin to suggest that we should pick between those same two failed parties is an insult. The rank in file members of the Tea Party movement should throw their current leaders out on their ear for allowing a movement of independents and Constitutionalists to be highjacked by either party . . .

May 17, 2011

GOP Dead-Enders Plead with Libertarians to Abandon their Party

The dead-enders of the Republican party are pleading with Libertarians to abandon the Libertarian party in particular and third parties in general, and instead vote for the GOP.  At the Bastiat Institute, Matt Welch responds:
I'm certainly no LPer, but my answer to this is a three-part "no." 1) I want more, not fewer, political groupings competing for my vote. 2) The presidency is just one of, what, more than a half-million elected offices in the United States? When we no longer have uncontested elections for Congress (a shockingly routine occurrence in Southern California, for example), let alone state and local offices, then maybe I'll be more open to the idea of contraction. Though probably not. And 3) while I'm seriously thrilled that there is so much libertarian flavoring in the current stew of GOP politics, it's going to take more than some scattered brave talk during the wilderness years to make me forget the explicitly anti-libertarian strategizing and governance of GOP scoundrels from 1997-2008. Unilateral disarmament at this time does not strike me as advisable . . .

FL: Libertarian Party Chair Protests Real ID Act

From the Libertarian Party of Florida:
Libertarian Party of Florida Chairman Adrian Wyllie will surrender his driver’s license in protest of Florida’s implementation of the Real ID Act at noon on Tuesday, May 17 at the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles office at 29399 Hwy 19 North in Clearwater (map). He has invited the public to witness the protest, and urges others to do the same.

Under the Real ID Act, state law requires that all applicants for a driver’s license or identification card submit an array of personal information, including an original birth certificate, social security card, marriage license(s), utility bills, and other documents. These documents are then scanned into an interstate database managed by the Department of Homeland security . . .

May 16, 2011

An Organized Protest Vote in 2012?

From FireDogLake:
our political system is controlled by legalized bribery of various forms.  Politicians feel free to act in their own interests after getting elected rather than actually representing the people who elected them.

More and more Americans from all across the political spectrum are waking up to this fact.  This is leading to both cynicism and sometimes a sense of hopelessness. I strongly believe the first step we need to take as a citizenry is to join together in a way that sends a strong and clear message to our country and the world that says Americans want a government that is actually responsive to the people that are governed. . . .

In this post I will lay out a strategy that I believe is pragmatic, practical, and has a reasonable chance to work.  The basic idea is to run a campaign not for a particular candidate but instead against both the Democratic and Republican parties.  The genesis for this idea is that both parties are rather hopelessly corrupt and non-responsive to the citizens at this time, yet the structure of our system does not offer meaningful opportunity for 3rd party or independent candidates . . . 

May 14, 2011

CO-3: Independent Announces Campaign for Congress

From The Pueblo Chieftain:
Less than a year after Republicans took control of the 3rd Congressional District with the election of Scott Tipton, a Pueblo woman announced her candidacy for Congress by saying the two-party system is broken.

 Tisha Casida is running for Congress as an independent candidate.  "There are things I like about all the parties," she said in her announcement Friday. "But the problem is the two-party system is not doing anything to solve our current economic problems."

 Casida said her campaign is less about challenging Tipton and more about finding ways to bring "prosperity and liberty back to Colorado." . . .
Check out Casida's campaign site.

May 13, 2011

VT: Independent Candidate for State Senate Calls for Obama's Impeachment

From Robert Wagner's campaign website:
As your Independent candidate for the Vermont Senate for Addison County and Brandon, I am calling for the impeachment of the federal president. I am calling on my learned colleagues currently sitting in the Legislature, to direct this impeachment under Jefferson’s Rules.
Nobody is above the law, nobody.
For not only continuing but compounding the Bush-era coup of our Republic, this man deserves to have every single law-abiding citizen turn his back on him. On his hands is the blood of every Vermonter who has died or will die in these oil wars: Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya.
He is also responsible for:
  • The deaths, maiming, torture, homelessness of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in these and other countries.
  • The continuing genocide against North American Indians, Pashtun tribespeople, and anybody else who gets in the way of Big Oil, uranium extraction, pipeline deals…
  • Propping up an infinite growth economy based on cheap (often stolen) oil. Peak Oil is now past, and with it the brutality that built that economy and nearly ruined the planet on which we live.
Any congressman that votes to fund any illegal, unconstitutional war is also party to war crimes. Notably, Rep. Ron Paul (R) has consistently refused to fund these wars. Rep. Peter Welch (D) has also begun to question the legitimacy of this funding, and has voted against it.

I understand that many of you here in Addison County had high hopes in the ‘changing of the guard’. I regret to inform you that those hopes of reform… have failed. We must maintain the moral high ground, even if this man has failed to represent us honestly.

NY-26: Greens Protest Candidate's Exclusion from Debate

From the Green Party of New York, via On the Wilder Side:
The Green Party of New York State would like to express its deep disappointment in the exclusion of Congressional candidate Ian Murphy from the upcoming May 12 debate in the 26th Congressional District. The decision to exclude Mr. Murphy denies voters in the district the chance to hear a legitimate candidate with a unique platform, and is an act of censorship on the part of a private station which profits from use of the public airwaves.  Voters have a first amendment right to hear all ballot-status candidates, and WGRZ is a private station on public airwaves which believes it has a right to exclude candidates from a debate.

WGRZ has admitted it is blatantly excluding a ballot-status candidate from a debate because of a personal disagreement between a station employee, Scott Levin, and Mr. Murphy.  The unlikeliness of this happening to Ms. Corwin or Hochul, as Democrats and Republicans, makes it all the more obvious that this is occurring because of Mr. Murphy’s status as a Green Party candidate.   Indeed,Jack Davis, an independent candidate, has also called for Mr. Murphy to be invited to the debate. We urge WGRZ to reinstate Ian Murphy into the May 12 debate as both the right and democratic thing to do.

May 11, 2011

MA: Seismic Shift Toward Political Independence

From Mike Moran at The Herald News:
A newly published listing, with numbers tracked annually since 1982, reveals changes in the party affiliation of Bay State voters. It shows a seismic shift in attitude and a steadily decreasing number of voters identifying themselves as either Democrats or Republicans. The numbers are nicely analyzed in an article recently published in the Herald News by David Riley of GateHouse News Service.

First, here’s the good news. Over the past 29 years, the number of registered voters in Massachusetts has gone from approximately 2.9 million to 4.1 million. The bad news for loyal Democrats and Republicans is that while both parties have seen an increase in the raw numbers over the years, there has also been a significant decrease in both party’s ranks as a percentage of all registered voters.
In other words, more and more of us are choosing to forego membership in the two major parties. As it stands now, the biggest party in Massachusetts is no party at all. Democrats comprise 36 percent of voters; Republicans are at 11 percent; and independent voters hold the majority with 52 percent. [Emphasis added.]

May 10, 2011

NY-26: "Wall Street Owns Both Parties" Says Tea Party Candidate

From Sam Wilson at The Think 3 Institute:
This month brings a special election to New York's 26th congressional district to fill the vacancy created by Rep. Chris Lee's embarrassed resignation over an internet flirting scandal. Lee won the regular election last November by a landslide, but the special election is proving more competitive. While many reports attribute the close polling so far to Democratic fearmongering over Rep. Ryan's long-term budget proposals, another important local factor is the independent candidacy of Jack Davis, a local businessman, on a "Tea Party" line . . . His appropriation of the TP mantle has caused controversy and is clearly hurting Republican chances. Davis had the support of 23% of respondents in one poll reported last month.
Read the rest of Sam's analysis and commentary on Davis's independent tea party bid.  Davis has just released a new ad in the race declaring that "Wall Street owns both parties!"

Poll: Majority Support for Third Party Alternative

From Gallup:
Fifty-two percent of Americans believe the Republican and Democratic parties do such a poor job of representing the people that a third party is needed. Forty percent believe they do an adequate job. The percentage calling for a third party is down from August, when it tied its high of 58%. . . . Gallup has always found political independents to be most desirous of a third party, and 68% currently are. But right now there is also a significant party gap, with 52% of Republicans favoring a third party, compared with 33% of Democrats.

May 9, 2011

NY-26: Davis Calls for Inclusive Debates

From WBEN:
Buffalo, NY (WBEN) Tea Party candidate, Jack Davis says he would like to have all the candidates for the NY 26th Congressional seat participate in Thursday's televised debate. Ian Murphy, the Green Party candidate, is not being allowed to take part and Davis, in a statement issued today notes, “In a democracy, all citizens should have a voice, and all candidates should be heard. The media shouldn’t be deciding who gets heard and who doesn’t. Though I may disagree with where Ian Murphy stands on the issues, I believe in the First Amendment and he should be heard. Ian Murphy is on the ballot, and he should be in any debate televised on the public airwaves.” . . .

May 7, 2011

The IAP's Ruth Hansen has passed away

Ruth Hansen (right), with her daughter, Janine Hansen
Margaret Ruth Hansen, the mother of Dan Hansen, the founder of the Independent American Party, and Janine Hansen, the co-founder of the IAP and head of the Nevada Eagle Forum, passed away in her sleep on May 5th. She had recently turned 95 on February 4th of this year.

Janine Hansen further comments on her mother's passing:

"My dear mother, Margaret Ruth Hansen, passed away last night, May 5, 2011 at home.  She was 95 years old and had been failing since she broke her shoulder the day after her 95th birthday on Feb. 4, 2011. She went peacefully when she just stopped breathing. 

She was the oldest sibling in her family and outlived her brother and two sisters, her youngest sister Polly Hansen having passed away in January of this year. She lived longer than her mother, who died at 94½ years. 

I have been greatly blessed by having her as my mother. She was my greatest teacher, friend, confidant, fan, supporter, co-worker, and example. Nothing I have done could I have accomplished without the endless love and support of my dear dedicated mother. She not only gave me life, but she taught me, through her own life, that service to God, Family, and Country was the right way of life and happiness.

I have been blessed to have had her with me since I moved to Elko over 6 years ago and lived just down the street all the years before in Sparks. I think of her now, running the rummage sales for Eagle Forum as only she could, making more money than anyone would think possible. I think of her at the organ at 89½ years old, playing for church all of her adult life until she moved to Elko. I think of her in 1992 at 76 years old out getting signatures in order to get the Independent American Party on the ballot. After dark on the last day, falling and breaking her hand but persisting until she had another 25 signatures so she could make her goal of 1,000. I think of her as a candidate, running for Washoe County Public Administrator, at 86 years old and having a ball!

I think of my mom taking me to singing and dancing lessons and teaching me how to lead the music and recite poetry. She took me to my high school debate tournaments and was always my biggest fan. I love her for how she loved and cared for my children as I went to work. I think of all the wonderful vacations and all the wonderful places we enjoyed together after we went to National Eagle Council, and to Nauvoo, WilliamsburgMonticello, Mt. Vernon, Gettysburg, Valley Forge, St. Louis Arch, Independence, Washington D.C.

My mom said the year she did not go into Lake Tahoe was the year she would finally be old. I guess mom you finally made it to “old” at 95.

My mom taught me by word and by deed to Love the Lord, Jesus Christ, His Gospel, this land of liberty which He established, family and the way-faring, as she collected those who others had discarded.

I have been greatly blessed in the mother who gave me birth and further blessed to have her with me all these years. I know that as she crossed the veil, the Lord said to her, “Ruth, well done thou good and faithful servant.”

The service in celebration of her life will be held in Sparks, most probably on Saturday, May 14th at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I will have details later. 

My mother’s greatest gift was her extraordinary love of her children. I’m sure my brother Danny was there to meet her along with Dad when she crossed the veil. 

Thanks mom! I love you! You are now truly free!"

Ruth Hansen, a dedicated mother and Independent American patriot, will be truly missed.

May 6, 2011

Canada: Pirate Party Nets Over 3000 Votes

From Straight:
The 2011 general election was the first for the Pirate Party of Canada, which only became a registered political party last year . . .  It fielded 10 candidates, including party leader Mikkel Paulson in Edmonton Centre, in the May 2 federal election . . .  With 71,472 of 71,513 polls reporting across the country, Pirates had hooked a total of 3,198 votes . . . 

Are Ron Paul and Gary Johnson in the Wrong Party?

From the Washington Examiner:
Earth to Rep. Ron Paul and former Gov. Gary Johnson – you are running for the Republican nomination for president, not the Libertarian or Democrat nomination.  At various times throughout the Republican primary debate last evening, I had to remind myself I was actually watching a Republican debate. . . . Why do Republicans let people like Ron Paul and Gary Johnson participate in Republican presidential debates?  They are obviously trying to win the “Who’s more Libertarian?” or “Who’s the least Republican” debate as opposed to the actual Republican debate taking place. 
Indeed, you really have to wonder why anyone who says they believe in freedom and liberty would support the Republican party. 

Poll: 10% of Tea Party Supporters are Libertarians

From the Libertarian Party blog:
The Reason Foundation and Arthur N. Rupe Foundation recently collaborated on a public opinion poll. According to its website, the Reason Foundation "advances a free society by developing, applying, and promoting libertarian principles, including individual liberty, free markets, and the rule of law." Here are a few of the poll results that may be of interest to Libertarians:

4.5% of respondents described their political philosophy as libertarian. People with college degrees were more likely to describe themselves as libertarian. Among Tea Party supporters, 9.7% described themselves as libertarian. . . . .

May 5, 2011

NY: GOP Conspiracy Theories Featured in New Ad Attacking Third Party Candidate

From Roll Call:
After largely ignoring third-party candidate Jack Davis in her first round of television ads, Republican nominee Jane Corwin is attacking the former Democrat as “the hand-picked candidate of Nancy Pelosi” in a 30-second television spot that began airing across the district today. The ad is her first since a public poll showed Corwin leading Democrat Kathy Hochul by just 5 points, 36 percent to 31 percent. Her lead would be far larger without the presence of Davis, a Congressional candidate with a history of switching parties who will appear on the May 24 ballot under the “Tea Party” line. Davis pulled 23 percent in the poll. “Davis was a handpicked candidate of Nancy Pelosi, and said he was proud to help her become Speaker,” says the narrator in the new ad.
The ideology that sustains the two-party state resembles nothing so much as a vapid conspiracy theory. This often appear to be just as true of the brain dead followers of the Democratic party as it is for the brain dead followers of the GOP. 

May 4, 2011

ME: Greens Enter Ranked Choice Mayoral Race

From the Portland Herald, via Green Party Watch:
Shrugging off the label of electoral "spoilers," members of the Maine Green Independent Party embraced Portland's new rank choice voting system as a third-party-friendly approach to electing the city's mayor.

"I think it will encourage people to run positive campaigns, and rather than having the so-called spoiler, Ralph Nader effect, which is not true at all ... it will totally separate that, because there are no spoilers in rank choice voting," said Tom MacMillan, a Maine Green Party steering committee member who lives in the West End of Portland.

Portland this year embarks on an elected-mayor campaign that replaces a council-appointed mayor with one elected to an at-large seat. Through a city charter change, voters also will choose their next mayor through rank choice voting, where if any candidate falls short of a majority, then the "second choice" votes come into play in the tabulation.
No spoilers in ranked choice voting?

Canada: Green Elected to Parliament

From the Ottawa Citizen:
Elizabeth May, the Green party leader, will be an asset to the House of Commons. She worked very hard to win in Saanich-Gulf Islands, and deserves a shot to prove herself on a new stage. It won't be easy. As the lone representative of her party in the House, she'll be an independent for all intents and purposes, which means she won't have much power -especially since the size of the Conservative majority means she won't often be courted for her vote. But her high profile, her passion and her eloquence will ensure that she has a disproportionate influence on public opinion, and perhaps also on her fellow MPs.

May 3, 2011

Poll: 80% Say They Would Consider Voting for a Third Party or Independent Presidential Candidate in 2012

Findings from a new Reason-Rupe poll, as described by Reason:
With the 2012 election season ramping up, frustrated voters appear ready to look beyond Democratic and Republican candidates. Eighty percent say they will or may consider voting for a third-party or independent presidential candidate in 2012. And an even higher number of independents (89 percent) and GOP voters (86 percent) say they will or may consider candidates outside of the two major political parties.
The willingness to look beyond Democrats and Republicans stems, in part, from voters’ lack of trust in them. When asked which political party they trust to govern responsibly, the leading answer was “neither,” at 35 percent, followed by Democrats at 31 percent and Republicans at 23 percent. The survey also found 58 percent of voters believe they’d either see “no difference” or be “better off” if Congress were only in session every other year.

May 2, 2011

Excelsior: Michael Bloomberg's Address at the World Trade Center on the Death of Bin Laden

From NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's address at the World Trade Center today:
Good afternoon. In the dark days that followed September 11, 2001, Americans made a solemn commitment that we would always remember in our hearts and minds all those we lost.

In just four months, on the tenth anniversary of the attacks, thanks to the generosity of people from around the world, the National September 11th Memorial will open, providing a powerful and permanent place of reflection and remembrance.

Already, there is a generation of children growing up who were too young to understand what happened on 9/11 – and they may be too young to understand what the news of Bin Laden’s death means. But it is our obligation in building the museum to ensure that the story of 9/11 is never forgotten.

In the dark days that followed September 11th, we made a solemn commitment that we would rebuild the World Trade Center site. As you can see, Seven World Trade Center is standing and open for business. Four World Trade Center has risen above 25 stories, One World Trade Center is now above 60 stories, and both are stretching higher every day. This is the largest, most complicated construction site in North America – and one of the most important in American history.

In the dark days that followed September 11th, we made a solemn commitment – to the dead and the living – that we would bring to justice those responsible for killing more than 2,900 innocent people.

Yesterday, Osama bin Laden found out that America keeps its commitments.

Today, we have come to the site that terrorists attacked in 1993 and again in 2001 to re-affirm our commitments – to all those we lost, to the future we believe in, and to a more peaceful and just world.

And we come to say, with gratitude for the courageous men and women who made it possible, that the forces of freedom and justice have once again prevailed over those who use terror to pursue tyranny.

Osama bin Laden is dead, and the World Trade Center site is teeming with new life.

Osama bin Laden is dead, and Lower Manhattan is pulsing with new activity.

Osama bin Laden is dead, and New York City’s spirit has never been stronger.

The construction you see here is a rebuke to all of those who seek to destroy our freedoms and liberties. Nothing will ever return our loved ones – but we are rebuilding from the ashes and the tears a monument to the American spirit. New York’s way is ever forward, ever skyward . . .

Read the rest.   'Excelsior,' Latin for "ever higher" is the New York State motto.