Jun 30, 2011

For Democrats and Republicans, Failure is Success

From Ezra Klein, on debt ceiling negotiations:
What the two parties are really doing is trying to position themselves politically to survive the consequences of their failure. We don’t yet know if we’ll get to the point where the market will panic, but it could. We’re very likely to get to the point where we have to stop funding certain government services, which could mean as little as delaying payments to military contractors and hospitals or as much as halting Social Security checks. Either way, the public is likely to ignore the political breakdown until the consequences begin. At that point, both parties are hoping they will have framed the debate such that the electorate’s fury falls squarely on the other’s shoulders . . . .

Jun 28, 2011

NY: Greens See Influence in Passage of Gay Marriage Bill

A letter from the New York Green Party Co-Chair to the Green Party of Monroe County:
The New York State Senate gave final approval Friday night to legalize same-sex marriage. A big thank you and congratulations to everyone who help make this change including countless Greens.

In the past few months The Green Party of Monroe County has been active advocating for the passage of this bill through lobbying state Senators and state Assemblyman, phone banking, hand delivery literature, and of course attending rallies.

For the Green Party this journey started a very long time ago, legalizing same-sex marriages has been in the Green Party's platform since it's inception. Over the years we have been steadfast in our call for marriage equality, and full LBGTQ rights.

On February 27, 2004 our advocacy turned into real action when Jason West, the first Green to be elected mayor in New York State, began performing marriages of same-sex couples outside the village hall in New Paltz. Mayor West was on the Rachel Maddow Show, the day before this historic legislation was past, to talk about marriage equality in New York, and what role his actions had in moving the issue to the forefront on political debate.

Alison Duncan, the 2006 Green Party candidate for Lieutenant Governor of New York and the first openly gay candidate for a gubernatorial office in New York, toured the state speaking on a wide range of LBGTQ issues, and pushing marriage equality in the political discourse here in New york.

Today I thank Mayor West, Alison Duncan, the founders of the Green Party, and the countless Greens and the countless New Yorkers, and advocacy groups that helped change happen in New York. Today we celebrate, tomorrow we continue to fight for equal rights for all.

-Jason Nabewaniec
Co-Chair of the Green Party of the United States

CA: Obama's Endless War Policy Drives Lifelong Dems to Greens

A letter to the editor of the Napa Valley Register:
I have been a registered Democrat all of my life (the first time I voted in 1960 was for JFK) but today I went down to the county offices and re-registered for the Green Party.

The latest decision of the White House to reduce the almost 100,000 troops in Afghanistan by a mere 10,000 is the final blow that has been weakening my faith in the present regime.

Exactly one year before he died, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke out against the Vietnam War at the Riverside Church in New York City and alienated some of his supporters who thought he should concentrate mainly on the Civil Rights movement.

He said, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. We can no longer afford to worship the God of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursue this self defeating path of hate.” . . .

NY: White Runs for City Council as Green

From 13 WHAM:
Saying "we need more", Alex White announced he is running for City Council in the South District against political veteran Adam McFadden.

"I have nothing against Adam McFadden," he says.  "We need more, more pressure, a better voice, and more vision of how we can get there."

White who will run on the Green Party line is no stranger to elections.  He has mounted several city wide campaigns most recently running for Rochester Mayor in the special election last March.  He was defeated by Thomas Richards, a democrat, but received nine percent of the vote.

CT: Supremes Refuse Greens

From the Washington Post:
The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from the Green Party of Connecticut challenging state requirements for third party candidates to qualify for public campaign funds. The justices did not comment Tuesday in refusing to disturb a federal appeals court ruling in favor of the state.

Jun 27, 2011

Liberal Blog Calls for Open Debate and Discussion with Libertarians

From the Angry Bear blog:
Here at Angry Bear, we've had a number of posts on LIbertarians over the years. Inevitably, someone writes to tell us we're misrepresenting Libertarians... even when we're quoting well known libertarians.

So... if you are libertarian consider this an invitation. Send me one to three paragraphs on what it means to be a libertarian or what libertarianism is. Or put it in comments. (I beg the indulgence of non-libertarians to please not put up comments of their own.) If you feel what you are writing about applies particularly to one or another strain of libertarianism, please make that clear. . . . .
Dan Reale, the Chairman of the Connecticut Libertarian Party, has already responded:
Libertarians oppose the initiation of force to promote social or political goals. We acknowledge that a "right" is a power, faculty or ability inherent to ownership and incident upon another. This applies to both to your property and yourself, as you own both.

This also applies to what people myopically characterize as "economic", "civil" or "social" rights, as if the principle is somehow different or distinct. Rights function on the same premise no matter who owns the property in question. If the action of the property owner (as in the person with the corresponding rights inherent to that ownership) would take action that would risk damage to property, infringe the rights of others or limit the rights of others, that person taking such action needs to obtain (or contract for) permission.

Libertarians are minarchists. We believe that government's only function is to protect individual rights . . .

Jun 25, 2011

AZ: Tucson Greens Reach Out to Local Liberals

From the Tucson Citizen:
Now that the dust (dust storm?) has settled, we know who is qualified to run for Mayor of Tucson — only Democratic attorney Jonathan Rothschild, and two Green Party candidates — Dave Croteau and Mary DeCamp.
Both Green Party candidates will be at The Shanty on Sunday June 26, 6 p.m. to talk to the so-called “liberals” of Drinking Liberally about why they are running for Mayor, and the Green Party primary on August 30. Independents can vote in the Green Party primary, but need to inform the Tucson City Clerk’s office (520-791-4213) if they want a Green ballot by July 16, 2011.

Jun 24, 2011

Politics by Numbers

From Robert Peck at Constitution Party News:
Real leaders don't lead by consensus. Real leaders lead with the courage to do what is right and what is necessary whether it's popular or not. Who wants to follow a general who stops in the middle of the battle to ask the troops what they think and take a poll to make sure he's doing 'the popular thing.' America needs leaders who are ready and willing to say “Damn the popularity polls, I'm going to do what I have to in order to save my country.”
Ultimately the responsibility comes home to roost with us, the voting public. Do we have the courage to act on our stated convictions? Will we raise up, support and vote for statesmen who are committed above all, to defending our God-given rights, constraining government to its Constitutionally prescribed limits and adhering to sound fiscal policies that will deliver future generations from the bondage of crushing national debt? Or will we continue to give the precious, empowering virtue of our vote to politicians who seek popularity and reelection and who will decide the future our great nation on the basis of opinion polls.

Jun 23, 2011

German Green Party Calls for Study of Hazardous Sex Toys

From the Herald Sun:
GERMANY'S Green party have asked for a government investigation into high levels of potentially dangerous chemicals in sex toys.

"Consumers must be protected when it comes to sexual health. Feigned embarrassment or false taboos should not prevent information getting out and checks being done," MP Volker Beck said yesterday.

The party wants Chancellor Angela Merkel's government to investigate legal limits to the levels of certain chemicals in dildos, vibrators and other sex aids and announce plans to reduce risk . . .

UK: Pirate Party Petitions against Digital Economy Act for Internet Freedom

From the UK Inquirer:
THE UK PIRATE PARTY is pushing voters to support an early day motion in parliament that could repeal some of the worst parts of the Digital Economy Act.  Tabled yesterday, the motion is backed by nine MPs and addresses plans to disconnect internet users suspected of illegally downloading copyrighted material.

The UK Pirate Party has consistently fought against the Act, and has seized on this latest opportunity to take it out.  "From the outset we have been vocal critics of the Digital Economy Act. The Act was forced through in the dying days of a discredited parliament and survived a judicial review. It has seen popular opposition and objection from business, it has been rejected by those who it will have an impact on as well as those who must enforce it," wrote Loz Kaye, the leader of the Pirate Party in a call to arms to voters.

"The Law now is still as bad as now as when it was first proposed. There is still hope though. This law is being challenged again."

Jun 22, 2011

Friedman: We Need a Third Party

From Tom Friedman at the NYT:
We need to do four things at once: spend, cut, tax and invest. And unless we do all four at once we’re not going to break out of our slow decline. But to do all four at once will require a new hybrid politics, which does not conform to the political agenda of either major party . . . 

Maybe it is just my friends, but I find more and more people completely disgusted by this situation and looking for a serious Third Party candidate who could run in 2012 and deliver the shock therapy to the corrupt, encrusted, two-party duopoly now running the show in America.

Such a Third Party would have a simple agenda: 1) Inject a short-term stimulus. 2) Enact Simpson-Bowles. 3) Shrink our presence in Afghanistan. 4) Raise automobile mileage standards. 5) Impose a gasoline tax to pay for a massive increase in government-supported scientific research and a carbon tax to pay for new infrastructure and stimulate clean-power innovation.

Do I think such a Third Party can win in 2012? Not likely. But it doesn’t have to win to be effective. If such a party attracted substantial voters on such a platform, it would shape the agendas of the Republicans and Democrats. They would both have to move to attract these voters by changing their own platforms and, in so doing, might even create a mandate for the next president

PA: Libertarians Get the Runaround from Clueless Democrat-Republican Bureaucrats

From the Times Leader:
The head of the Pennsylvania Libertarian Party has issued a release blasting Luzerne County Election Bureau Director Leonard Piazza and the state election office for failing to provide written verification on the type of paperwork needed for the party’s candidates to get on the November ballot.

The confusion stems from the party’s new designation as a minor political party in the county, based on the vote tallies of Libertarian candidates in the 2010 election. Every year, the state requires counties to certify political parties – the major parties and any minor political parties, Piazza said. That certification was submitted around February without listing the Libertarian Party as a minor party, he said.

Libertarians met with Piazza in March and pointed out that the party should be designated a minor political party in the certification based on the election results, and Piazza said he concurred. Piazza said he amended the certification adding the Libertarian Party and submitted it to the state last month . . .

But Pennsylvania Libertarian Party Chairman Lou Jasikoff said a state election legal adviser contacted him and informed him that a different document known as a political body nomination paper might be required for signatures gathered by Libertarian candidates before the amended certification was submitted to the state. Political body nomination papers are used for candidates from parties that are not designated minor political parties by a county, Jasikoff said . . .

It's Time to End the Failed War on Drugs

From the Libertarian Party:
June 17, 2011 is the 40th anniversary of America's War on Drugs. Libertarian Party Chair Mark Hinkle issued the following statement today:

"On June 17, 1971, President Richard Nixon declared a 'War on Drugs,' which has become a relentless violation of the lives and property of Americans, including many who have never taken illegal drugs. These violations continue under President Barack Obama, an admitted former cocaine user who has shown no hesitation in throwing people into prison -- a punishment he might have suffered had he been caught. Moreover, although promising to respect medical marijuana use in states where voters have approved it, the Obama administration has already conducted close to 100 raids on patients, growers, and compassion centers in those states.

"America's first experiment in prohibition involved alcohol, and is widely recognized as a failure. Approved in 1919, Prohibition I led to a steady rise in both alcohol usage and violent crime. The murder rate rose 50% between 1919 and 1933, peaking at 9.7 murders per 100,000 population in 1933, when the country finally decided enough was enough. Immediately after the repeal of Prohibition I, gangsterism went into a swift decline, with all of the major gangs disappearing within 18 months, and the murder rate dropping every single year for more than a decade.

"Prohibition II -- the War on Drugs -- has been another tragedy. We applaud the efforts of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), an organization of current and former police, prosecutors, judges, DEA agents, and others, which issued a 20-page report this month detailing the tragic results of this misguided crusade, entitled 'Ending the Drug War: a Dream Deferred.'

"In their report, LEAP documented some of the measurable costs: over a million people arrested each year, a trillion dollars spent, and drug gangsterism at a level that dwarfs its alcohol equivalent and which has led to a bloodbath in Mexico that is spilling over into the United States. Not because of drugs, but because of drug laws. And over 120 million Americans have used illicit drugs: only the most deluded observer believes the laws have curbed drug abuse, and only the cruelest believes that 40% of the American population belongs in prison. No wonder 67% of police chiefs say the War on Drugs is a failure.

"Ultimately, of course, this tragedy is the result of our government's refusal to allow people to engage in peaceful choices as to what they consume . . .

Wikinews Interviews Libertarian Presidential Candidate R. Lee Wrights

From Wikinews:
R. Lee Wrights, a candidate for the U.S. Libertarian Party's presidential nomination, took some time to speak with Accredited Wikinews Reporter William Saturn about his presidential campaign and positions on political issues.

Wrights, a native of North Carolina, is an activist and lifetime member of the Libertarian Party who currently serves as the editor of several Libertarian publications. He previously worked as a medical technician inthe United States Air Force and earned degrees in History and Journalism at Willmar College.

He is currently being challenged for the nomination by National Guard officer R.J. Harris, radio host Jim Duensing, former Nevada Libertarian Party chair Jim Burns, marketing executive Roger Gary and attorney Carl Person. 2008 Vice presidential nominee Wayne Allyn Root is also expected to make a run . . .

Jun 21, 2011

AZ: Democrats Go to Court to Have Challengers Purged from Ballot in Tucson

From the Arizona Daily Star:
Democratic attorney Jonathan Rothschild may be the only major-party candidate left standing in the mayoral race after today. Superior Court Judge Paul Tang bounced independent Pat Darcy from the ballot Monday after the Pima County Recorder's Office found he came up 106 signatures short on nominating petitions.

A short time later, Republican Shaun McClusky attempted to withdraw his nominating petitions before facing his own court challenge this afternoon, where Democrats will argue he didn't obtain a sufficient number of signatures to get on the ballot . . .

Darcy offered no court defense of his petitions, beyond noting there is a built-in disadvantage for independent candidates, who need far more signatures than party candidates. As an independent, Darcy needed 2,596 valid signatures. Republicans, meanwhile, needed 1,060 and Democrats needed 1,642.
He said he was dismayed the Democratic Party challenged him at all. "What are they afraid of?" he asked, saying that if the tables were reversed, he would have welcomed a contest rather than try to kick all of the challengers out of the race. "You want to compete. You don't want it just given to you," he said, adding it is a drain on the courts, as well as the city and county staffs.

Jun 20, 2011

MN: Greens Begin Recruitment Effort for Local Races

From the Twin Cities Daily Planet:
The Green Party of St. Paul began a new effort to recruit candidates for upcoming 2011 local elections June 16, as candidates and around 40 supporters gathered to launch the effort dubbed Green St. Paul.The campaign is an attempt to change the party’s sporadic track record in local elections by recruiting candidates to run for local office, said Green St. Paul co-chair Roger Meyer.

“We don’t have a history of running candidates in local elections,” said Meyer at the press conference outside the Greater Frogtown Community Development Corporation office. “I don’t even know the last time we had a City Council candidate.”

The Green Party has officially endorsed three candidates in local races. . . .

NY: Green Party to Hold National Meeting in Early August

From the Green party:
The Green Party of the United States will hold its 2011 Annual National Meeting at Alfred University in Alfred in western New York, from Friday, August 5 to Sunday, August 7.

The meeting will take place at the fourth bienniel New York Green Fest, "a gathering of folks interested in exploring the politics and practices that will help enable us to live in a sustainable world, and sharing a weekend of good discussions, good food, and good music" (http://nygreenfest.org).

"We look forward to meeting in New York, where the Green Party of New York State regained ballot status in 2010 with Howie Hawkin's Green campaign for governor," said Jason Nabewaniec, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States and a New York Green.

Green Party leaders will begin organizing for the 2012 election season, including the presidential race. The party will nominate a candidate for the White House at its 2012 national convention. The 2011 meeting in Alfred will also feature Green Party panels, workshops, meetings of the Green National Committee, and other events.

The meeting is open to the media and public . . . 

Jun 19, 2011

The folly of "strategic" voting

I contend that the mainstream definition of "strategic" voting is folly, and hypothesize that third parties potentially could, if successful, be the bulwark towards a truly strategic vote plan for the American public to extract wanted policy reforms/changes.

What do you think?

The folly of "strategic" voting

Jun 17, 2011

NY: Libertarians Open to Cross-Endorse Republicans who Support Gay Marriage

From Capital Tonight:

In hopes of countering the state Conservative Party’s threat to strip GOP senators who vote “yes” on gay marriage of the right to run on Row C, the Libertarian Party is offering those ousted lawmakers a place to land in 2012.
“The Libertarian Party does not believe government should have any role at all in marriage,” state Chairman Mark Axinn told me in an email this morning. “But inasmuch as it does, we certainly believe that such involvement should be on a non-discriminatory basis.”
“Various Republican State Senators have stated that they will support equal rights for gay New Yorkers and it is likely that the Conservative Party (and perhaps others) will shun them for that. We believe the opposite reaction is warranted. Those state Senators who indicate they oppose government discrimination are welcome to seek the Libertarian line in 2012, and we would be happy to discuss it with any of them should they be so inclined.” . . .

AR: Libertarian Party Qualifies for Party Status

From Ballot Access News:

On June 16, the Arkansas Secretary of State determined that the Libertarian Party petition for party status has enough valid signatures. The party had submitted 16,000 to meet a requirement of 10,000. The validity rate was approximately 75%.
Before 1971, Arkansas did not require any petition for a party to become ballot-qualified. Since then, the other only parties that have ever successfully petitioned for party status in Arkansas have been the Reform Party in 1996, and the Green Party in 2006, 2008, and 2010 . . . 
Arkansas has a far easier ballot access procedure for parties that just want to be on the ballot for President. That petition only requires 1,000 signatures, and until today, that is the only petition that the Libertarian Party had ever used in Arkansas. Arkansas is the only state in which the Libertarian Party has never placed any nominees on the general election ballot, other than its presidential nominees. There are no statewide offices (other than President) up in Arkansas in 2012, but it is expected that the Libertarians will have candidates for U.S. House and state legislature.

Jun 15, 2011

CA: Greens Face Uphill Battle in San Francisco

From SF Weekly:
Two years ago, the Greens were forced to give up their party headquarters because the $1,200 per-month price tag was too rich. And, these days, the party faithful are gathering signatures, hoping to save their mayoral candidate the $5,000 filing fee . . . 

NJ: From the Bottom Up

From Ballot Access News:
New Jersey elects its state legislators in odd years. This year, New Jersey’s active minor parties have more candidates for the Assembly (the lower house) than they did two years ago. Libertarians have candidates in four districts this year, whereas the party only had candidates in a single Assembly district in 2009. The Green Party has candidates is two districts this year, compared to only one in 2009. The Constitution Party has two candidates in one Assembly district this year, compared to no legislative candidates at all in 2009. There are 9 independent candidates for the Assembly.

Jun 14, 2011

NJ: Marijuana Legalization Activist Launches Independent Bid for State Assembly

From PhillyBurbs:
Edward Forchion, the Pemberton Township native best known by his alias, NJWeedman, is throwing his hat into the political ring again. The longtime marijuana activist has filed to run as an independent candidate for one of the 8th Legislative District’s two state Assembly seats. He is one of 11 independents who have filed to run for state, county or local offices in the November general election . . . Forchion is the best-known of the independents, having previously run third-party campaigns for governor, Congress, the state Legislature, and the Burlington County Board of Freeholders. He also has received publicity for his run-ins with the law . . . 

NY: Independent Announces Candidacy for Mayor of Ithica

From the Ithica Journal:
Local business owner and first-time political candidate Christopher Kusznir announced his candidacy for Ithaca mayor Friday on The Commons. Kusznir said The Commons are representative of the struggles of all Ithacans -- marked by empty storefronts and lost jobs . . .  Kusznir is the first independent to announce his candidacy in the race. Three Democrats have declared for the race . . . and one Republican . . . .

Jun 13, 2011

IN: Libertarian Strategy and Social Liberalism

From the Courier Press:
Though the Indiana Libertarian Party has not landed a candidate for the 2012 governor's campaign, it has identified an opening to influence the race. On social issues, the major parties' leading candidates Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Pence and Democratic former Indiana House Speaker John Gregg take conservative stances. So the Libertarian candidate could be the only one who offers a significantly different position on issues such as abortion and gay marriage.

Libertarian Party of Florida on the Trouble with Libertarians

From the LP Florida:
There is a paradigm shift in this country happening, it’s not Republican/Democrat or Left/Right, or Conservative/Liberal. The people are realizing that there is now a war between those who love liberty and all it entails and statists who want to control everything. The Libertarian Party should take advantage of this paradigm shift, but as our 40 year history has shown, we once again we shoot ourselves in the foot. We have again furthered our image of Amoral Atheistic Anarchists. This unfortunately accurate combination of descriptors will insure that the American people will only rarely elect Libertarian candidates. Ron Paul, arguably the most successful candidate wearing the libertarian moniker, is not a member of the Libertarian Party. Because he has realized that to win elections and have a positive affect for liberty for all Americans, he had to abandon the LP. Americans will not elect Amoral Atheistic Anarchists . . .

Jun 10, 2011

Constitution Party of Delaware Condemns Tea Party Factionalism

A post at Smart Girl Politics relays an "official statement from the Constitution Party of Delaware" by the party's state chair Earl Lofland condemning the recent announcement by the chairman of the Tea Party Express that the TPE will support "whoever the GOP nominates" in 2012.  Excerpt:
This week Amy Kramer, Chairman for the Tea Party Express stated "Tea Party Group Says It Will Support Whoever The GOP Nominates, Eve..."  Last year, when the TPE came to Delaware, to pull for Christine O'Donnell, I was very skeptical of their motives, asking the question; were they looking to support and defend the Constitution, as the founders originally intended, or was TPE only a shilll organization working covertly to promote the same initiatives and agendas that have been ongoing for at least 90 yrs...(reflections on the discovery by Mr Quigley in his book Tragedy and Hope)

It now is verified theTPE only endorses partisan views of one faction, and are not basing their decison on fundamental logic within the boundries of a limited government outlined in the Constitution. For the recent decison of TPE's Chair peson to make her decisions to discriminate any other candidates from other political factions, as the Chairman of The Constitition Party of Delaware,

If you are a member of, or support the views of the Tea Party Express; You are an enemy to the US Constitution. And are partakers of an organization who has infringed upon the rights of individuals to assemble based upon their affiliation to other political factions or having no affiliation to any faction at all. In Violation of what was erected when the Founders first declared Independence from a totalitarianism being forced upon the colonies by a tyrant in England.

The Constitution Party of Delaware therefore condemns the current decision of Amy Karmer in her decisions, and her organizations decisions of considering or disqualifying someone as a candidate for any elected office based upon the persons party affiliation and not upon the persons principles - whether or not they would uphold the oath to a sovereign God; to Support and Defend the Constitution against all its enemies foreign and domestic without any mental reservations.

Virgil Goode for President on Constitution Party Ticket?

From the Roanoke Times:
Virgil Goode has worn a number of labels through the years -- state senator, congressman, Democrat, independent, Republican -- but now he's considering trying on a new title: United States presidential candidate.

At its April meeting in Harrisburg, Pa., the national executive committee of the Constitution Party passed a resolution urging Goode to seek its presidential nomination next year. Goode, who's been making speeches at Constitution Party meetings for two years, said he's thinking about it.

"I will consider it as the year progresses," Goode said when reached at his Rocky Mount office Thursday.

ID: Local Constitution Party Calls for Protest of State-Funded Religious Artwork

From the Seattle Times:
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — A new public sculpture of the Hindu god Ganesha is drawing protests in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. The Kootenai County Constitution Party is urging Christians to protest the artwork, calling it an "abomination" approved by the "godless group of individuals" who manage the city's public art program . . .

Jun 9, 2011

NY: New Ethics Law is Unethical, Unconstitutional, for Exclusion of Independents

From the Wall Street Journal:
The new ethics law being touted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo parcels equal roles to Democrats and Republicans in investigating lawmakers of both parties suspected of questionable conduct. What about independents?

"They don't exist," Mr. Cuomo said at a recent news conference, at which point he and legislative leaders standing beside him broke into a hearty laugh. But constitutional scholars aren't taking the matter so lightly.

They're warning that the state's new ethics body may be destined for legal challenges in federal court. By enshrining into law the perpetual dominance of Republicans and Democrats in overseeing ethics codes, Mr. Cuomo and lawmakers could be infringing on the rights of unaffiliated and minor-party citizens . . .
For more on the new law, see Poli-Tea.

Greens: Cobb Endorses Honkala for Sheriff of Philly

From Cheri Honkala, a letter from David Cobb:
Dear Fellow Green Party members,
Remember the excitement of the Nader/LaDuke 2000 campaign?  How about the enthusiasm generated when Matt Gonzalez ran for Mayor of San Francisco as a Green and damned near won?
I am writing to you because I think we have the opportunity to recapture that sense of momentum and optimism for our party by supporting Cheri Honkala for Sheriff of Philadelphia.
Cheri is a long-distance runner for social justice.  I have personally known of her work as an activist for years, and was pleased to learn she was turning her activism toward electoral politics.  When I learned she was running as a Green, I was thrilled!
Cheri is a formerly homeless mother who worked her way out of poverty. She went on to form the Kensington Welfare Rights Union, and has become a national leader in the fight for economic fairness in this country.  She has been profiled in The Nation, Mother Jones named her a “Hell Raiser of the Month and Ms. Magazine awarded her “Woman of the Year” in 2001.
And it’s not just her credentials as an activist that has me so jazzed—it’s her keen sense of strategy, her commitment to movement building, and the multi-racial coalition of organized labor leaders, peace and justice activists, young people, and Greens she is bringing together.
And get this—in Philadelphia the main job of the Sheriff is to serve evictions and foreclosures.  Cheri’s campaign message?
Sisters and Brothers, this is genius! . . . 

Jun 8, 2011

Independents on the Rise in China

From the Christian Science Monitor:
About 80 independent candidates for local Peoples' Congresses are using the power of social media in China to challenge the Communist party's lock on political office.  As local government elections get underway nationwide in China, a new breed of independent would-be politician is emerging to challenge the ruling Communist party’s near total stranglehold on political power. 
Harnessing the mobilizing power of social networking websites for the first time and attracting unprecedented attention to themselves, these candidates for local Peoples’ Congresses are posing a dilemma for the government.

“There appears to be some uncertainty and debate at the upper echelons [of government] about how to deal with this,” says Russell Leigh Moses, author of an upcoming book on the changing nature of power in China. . . . 
If China's one party state is unsure how to deal with the country's independent movement, is it really so unlikely that they might look to the US for potential models?  Judging from the state's initial response, it sounds like China might be modeling itself on California, where "independent" candidates are strictly speaking no longer allowed on the ballot, or perhaps Oregon, where a proposal was recently floated to prohibit the use of the word "independent" in the name of a political party.  Or is it perhaps the other way around?  From Xinhua:
China said Wednesday that there is no such a thing as an "independent candidate," as it's not recognized by law, amid ongoing elections starting this year of lawmakers at the county and township legislatures.

The Electoral Law stipulates that candidates for lawmakers at the county- and township- levels should be first nominated as "deputy candidate" and then confirmed as "official deputy candidate" in due legal procedures, said an official of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature.

KY: Independent Gov Candidate Says the Parties are the Problem

From the Murray Ledger and Times:
Although Gatewood Galbraith has often been called a perennial gubernatorial candidate in the past, he says he has a good shot at winning this year as an independent. . . . “I’m an independent candidate for governor,” Galbraith said during a stop at the Murray Ledger & Times office Tuesday. “My running mate and I have no party affiliation whatsoever. We don’t want one. The problem with Kentucky and the reason we’re dysfunctional as a state government in Kentucky is because both parties have their horns locked up like two bull elk fighting over territory while the business of the people lays dead in the dust." . . .

NY Gov: Independents Don't Exist

From Capitol Confidential, via The Hankster:
The bipartisan structure of the to-be-created Joint Commission on Public Ethics is carefully balanced (to the point some have criticized it) between the Republicans and Democrats, so neither party could conduct a “political witch hunt” against the other.

But what about lawmakers enrolled in one of New York’s minor parties? “They don’t exist!” Gov. Andrew Cuomo jokingly said Monday. “We’re going to go back to drafting now and write that in.”

But there is currently one lawmaker who is an enrolled Independence Party member: Fred Thiele, of Suffolk County, a Republican turned Independent who now caucuses with the majority Democrats . . .

Jun 7, 2011

Socialist Coalition Emerges in Egypt

From Links, International Journal of Socialist Renewal:
Five Egyptian political parties and movements unite to form the Coalition of Socialist Forces, they announced in a meeting on May 10, 2011. The newly formed coalition is made up of the Social Party of Egypt, the Democratic Labour Party, the Popular Socialist Coalition Party, Egypt Communist Party and the Revolutionary Socialists. It aims to include under its umbrella other socialist movements in Egypt, which are considered fragmented.

“We [social political activists] are optimistic that the Coalition of Socialist Forces will bring a stronger socialist presence onto Egypt’s political scene”, said Gigi Ibrahim, a political activist.

Stewart Alexander: Obama's Record is Greatest Threat to his Re-election Bid

From Indy Bay:
President Barack Obama recently kicked off his 2012 re-election campaign; however, the sluggish economy and the president’s failure to create jobs could threaten his hopes for re-election. With all the bad news on the economy, the president still remains the favorite to win in 2012. President Obama is a formidable fundraiser and has the financial backing of Wall Street and could spend as much a $1 billion for re-election; and approaching November 2012, the Republican field of presidential hopefuls appears to be hopeless. . . . 
Presidential Candidate Stewart Alexander says “The Jobs Report is more bad news for President Obama. Today there is a lack of confidence among millions of Americans that President Obama will produce a plan that will ease America’s unemployment crisis; it is the worse unemployment crisis since the Great Depression.”

President Obama recently kicked off his 2012 re-election campaign; however, the sluggish economy and the president’s failure to create jobs could threaten his hopes for re-election. With all the bad news on the economy, the president still remains the favorite to win in 2012. President Obama is a formidable fundraiser and has the financial backing of Wall Street and could spend as much a $1 billion for re-election; and approaching November 2012, the Republican field of presidential hopefuls appears to be hopeless.

With the odds of winning being so immense, Stewart Alexander says the greatest threat to Obama’s re-election bid is his record; “his record on the economy, his failure to end the wars, a spiraling national debt that is approaching $15 trillion, and his broken promises to the American working class.”

Stewart Alexander was the Vice Presidential Nominee for the Socialist Party USA in 2008 and has announced that he will be seeking the 2012 presidential nomination for the Socialist Party USA, the Green Party USA, and the Peace and Freedom Party- California. Alexander says Obama needs a presidential candidate from the left to challenge his record; “I believe I am that candidate.” . . . .

Jun 4, 2011

MN: Independence Party Opposes Imposition of "State-Sponsored Morality"

From the Minnesota Independent:
The Independence Party of Minnesota is the latest political party in Minnesota to oppose a proposed ballot initiative that would write a ban on same-sex marriage into the Minnesota Constitution, and it’s the second party with major party status here to oppose the measure.

IP leaders released a video explaining their opposition to the amendment, and the chair of the party released a statement urging Minnesotans to vote “no” in November 2012. Already, the DFL and Libertarian Party have called on voters to reject the amendment, while the Green Party of Minnesota has long supported full marriage equality for same-sex couples.

IP chair Mark Jenkins cited the party’s platform: “We oppose having the government impose state-sponsored morality or values on people of good conscience with differing views.” . . .

The New Third Party?

I blog on the new blog on The New Third Party.

I think it's ideas could be very useful for smaller Local Third Parties (LTPs) that specialize in contesting "more local" elections and vote strategically together in "less local" elections. I doubt very much that a major third party could be created by these ideas. But I could be wrong and even if I am right, it's possible that good could come from the attempt to create the new third party.


Jun 2, 2011

Proportional Representation and Women Representatives

This is a repost from A New Kind of Third Party.

This is a very good summary of the evidence that the use of Proportional Representation seems to increase the percent of women representatives. But how do we get the League of Women Voters to support the use of 3-seated Largest Remainder Hare elections for state representative and city council elections in the United States?


Why Does Intra-Party Discipline Matter?

Over at A New Kind of Third Party, TiradeFaction and I are discussing how there needs to a balance between intra-party democracy and discipline in order to maintain a party "brand" and to get things done. The use of party-list proportional representation is a way to increase intra-party discipline. When the party-lists are very short, this wouldn't give party leaders too much power.

AZ: Green Party Mayoral Primary in Tucson

From Tucson Weekly:
It appears we’ve got a Green Party mayoral primary on our hands in Tucson. Mary DeCamp, who ran for the Ward 3 City Council seat two years ago, jumped into the race for the Green Party nomination last week against Dave Croteau, who ran for mayor four years ago. But don’t expect a lot of negative campaigning between the candidates. Croteau says they’re the best of friends and sees this as an opportunity to get the media to cover a regular series of debates . . .

NY: Greens Call for Moratorium on Police Use of Tasers

From News LI:
(Suffolk County, Long Island) - “The Green Party of Suffolk is outraged to discover that Suffolk County has continued using Tasers against its residents,” said its chair Roger Snyder. “It is inconceivable that Suffolk has continued to use Tasers given the questions about the Taser-related death of Darryl Bain in 2009.”

Snyder repeated the Green Party’s plan to protect the lives of Suffolk residents: “In line with our pillar of nonviolence, the Green Party of Suffolk demands Suffolk County seek out ways to avoid the use of easily abused and potentially lethal Tasers. As an immediate step, the Green Party of Suffolk calls on the county to put a moratorium on the use or purchase of any Tasers. In the long term, the Green Party calls on the county to train the police in nonviolent methods of resolving situations.”

The renewed call for a moratorium on Taser use in Suffolk County was prompted by the death of Daniel McDonnel after he was tasered twice by the Suffolk Police. According to Newsday, McDonnel is the fifth person to die after being tasered by Suffolk Police. Amnesty International USA has found that at least 350 people died in the United States and Canada after being shot by Tasers since June 2001 . . .

Founder of Pirate Party Gets Behind Bitcoin

From City AM:

RICKARD Falkvinge, the Swedish IT entrepreneur and founder of the first Pirate Party, has announced he is piling all his money into bitcoins, a digital currency that is attracting a lot of online interest. Although the technology is groundbreaking and its security substantial, Falkvinge is nevertheless taking a huge leap of faith.

Satoshi Nakamoto, a Japanese computer programmer, set out his innovative idea for bitcoin in his 2009 paper: Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System. Unlike every previous currency it doesn’t rely upon a central authority. It is stored virtually in the form of a file and digitally transferred. Once the money supply has reached 21m bitcoins – growing as the network grows – no more will be issued, thus prohibiting devaluation. Bitcoins can’t be frozen, tracked or taxed . . .

Jun 1, 2011

NY-26: Davis Ain't Dead Yet

From WBFO:
The numbers may show a loss for independent candidate Jack Davis, but he says this is not the last you will see of him. Davis lost the 26th Congressional special election Tuedsay night. Davis hosted election party at Brennan's Bar on Transit Road in Amherst for his supporters. Davis says the independent candidates will continue to challenge the leaders of both the democratic and republican parties. . . . Davis said this race was only a milestone in an unfinished war.

KY: Independent Candidate Collects 5,000 Signatures in Gubernatorial Bid

From the Murray Ledger and Times:
In a move that has helped to organize supporters, independent gubernatorial candidate Gatewood Galbraith said late last week he now has the 5,000 signatures needed to get his name put on the general election ballot in Kentucky.
Galbraith, a Lexington attorney, said he intends to collect another 5,000 signatures before turning them over to the secretary of state's office to officially enter the race against Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear and Republican nominee David Williams, just in case the opposing campaigns challenge the eligibility of some of the people who signed.

OH: Independent Barred from Running for Mayor

From the Chronicle Telegram:
Independent Tim Quinn, who was removed from the November ballot for voting in the May Democratic primary, was told Tuesday that he can’t run as a write-in candidate for Elyria mayor, either.
Lorain County Board of Elections Director Paul Adams referred Quinn to the 2011 candidate requirement guide, which states that “no person may file to be a write-in candidate for any non-federal office if for the same election that person already filed a declaration of candidacy or nominating petition.”
Quinn said he would accept the rule, but he is still considering filing a legal challenge to the elections board’s decision last week to remove him from the ballot. “I don’t think I did anything wrong,” Quinn said Tuesday. “I have voted in every election since I was 21.” . . .

Party-List Proportional Representation: Why Small Numbers of Seats is Beautiful!

Over at A New Kind of Third Party, I point out how the Electoral Reform Society of the United Kingdom's arguments against closed(or party)-list proportional representation do not hold true when only a few seats are contested.

3-seated Largest Remainder Hare keeps things simple with "One Man [sic], One Vote". And when there's only one candidate per party*, the impersonal nature of ordered party-lists and excessive power for party leaders are removed.

*One candidate along with a tacit or specified vice-candidate. With a 3-seated LR Hare election rule, the most common outcome would be for the top three vote-getting candidates to win a seat each. Yet a vice-candidate would get the second seat if their candidate gets first place and beats the third place candidate by more than one-third of the total vote. So if the vote-percents were 40-30-20-10 then the top three would win one seat each. If the vote-percents were 45-35-11-9 then the top candidate would win two seats for her/his party and second place would win the third seat.

Libertarians, Independents and Trust in Elected Leaders

  • Many Independents might be libertarians: fiscally conservative and socially liberal (by W. E. Messamore, CAIVN) 'So, if many of these centrist, independent voters are indeed libertarians, why aren't libertarians better recognized? First, the word "libertarian" is still unfamiliar — even to many who hold "fiscally conservative, socially liberal" views. Pollsters rarely use it. So in polls, many libertarians call themselves "conservative," "independent" or "moderate" — making it hard for analysts to recognize them.'
  • Majority of Americans Do Not Trust President Obama or His Economic Advisors to Handle Budget Deficit -Even larger majorities do not trust Speaker Boehner, Congressional Republicans or Congressional Democrats (Harris Poll Press Release) Independents, however, do not trust anyone. Just two in five trust President Obama (43%), 36% trust his economic advisors, 31% trust Speaker Boehner, 28% trust Republicans in Congress and 22% trust Democrats in Congress.
  • Pawlenty campaigns in northwest Iowa (by Radio Iowa) “Independents, people who are, you know, going to decide the election in large measure, have really figured out that he has not turned the country around like he promised.The economy continues to do very poorly and they don’t favor his reelection,” Pawlenty says.
  • Doug Schoen: Democrats Fear Christie Entering Presidential Race (By: Jim Meyers and Ashley Martella, Newsmax.com) “The American people are looking for fresh faces and if somebody like Chris Christie got into the race, I think there is a real chance that there could be a boomlet of excitement that could catapult him pretty quickly to the top of the polls.”