Nov 30, 2010

OK Pirate Party Ballot Effort Profiled by Oklahoma City Deluxe

The Oklahoma City Deluxe is an independent crafts bazaar.  From Oklahoma City Deluxe:
At Deluxe, we have a soft spot in our hearts for the underdogs, the underrepresented, the minority. We like to give an opportunity to community groups and artists who might not find an outlet at many high-profile events. Today we’d like to introduce you to a group that will be at Deluxe collecting signatures for their petition regarding ballot access.

What is your organization’s mission?
The Pirate Party of Oklahoma is a new political party with the goal of promoting the Privacy Rights of Oklahomans, push for increased Government Transparency, advocate for Ballot Access Reform, and encourage reform of Patents, Copyrights, and Trademarks. Our goal is to embrace the ideals behind the constitution, and to make sure these ideals are honored in a time filled with technology that our founding fathers could never have imagined.

Who is your target population?
All Oklahomas concerned about their privacy and being able to use technology in a meaningful way, as well as Oklahomas who are concerned about having accountability from their government. We don’t have a specific target population in mind, but a large portion of our membership comes from the generations that are more exposed to the constant advances in technology and are aware of the potential to use, and abuse, this technology.

US Pirate Party Legal Officer Resigns

You might recall this post from last week, reporting that member(s) of the US Pirate Party had considered helping international students in the US maintain their work visas.  A controversy over this individual's proposal, among other things, has apparently led the party's legal officer to resign in protest.  Andrew Norton explains his reasons for quitting his post with the party at Politics & 2P:
The main issue has been the flagrant, and repeated violations of the party Constitution, by one officer, Jay Emerson. In a period of one week, between 9 and 12 violations of the constitution were committed over three separate, documented instances, by this officer. Each of these violations has a penalty specified – 'may be removed from office with cause'. . . . 
On thursday November 18th, a 'news' article was posted [see update at end] (the disclaimer that '*Note: This is not officially proposed by the USPP, was added November 27th')saying that the USPP was going to start employing people from overseas, because those people were having problems getting their student visa's supported . . .  Anybody with a high school education or better knows what this is called. “Immigration visa Fraud”. . . . It's about 8 different violations of the party constitution, and can even lead to the party being shut down.
The party leadership's non-responsiveness to Norton's concerns is among the primary reasons for his resignation.  Read the whole thing.  On a different note, see also Norton's recent article, "Breaking the 2-Party Two-Step."

Libertarians to Hold Convention in Las Vegas

From the LA Times' extremely hostile report:
Finally, the desert city of Las Vegas breaks the ice and gets its first national political convention. The Libertarian Party will gather there the first week of May 2012 to nominate its national ticket of guaranteed losers.

The Libertarians' choice of Nevada along with the Republicans' choice of Tampa for their 2012 nominating convention in late August means the country's two major parties have now settled on their meeting sites.

The only one left is the fringe third-party Democrats, who haven't agreed yet on one of four cities: Cleveland, Charlotte, Minneapolis and St. Louis.

Greens Nominated to List of Top 100 Global Thinkers

Via On the Wilder Side, four Greens nominated to list of top 100 global thinkers.  From Foreign Policy:
A funny thing happened after the world's failure to agree on a climate-change plan at the 2009 Copenhagen summit: 2010 became the year of the Greens -- and more specifically, of the Green women. Cécile Duflot, head of France's third-most powerful party, is being dubbed a kingmaker for the 2012 presidential race and recently led the French Greens to strong showings in the European parliamentary and regional races. Renate Künast presides over Germany's Green parliamentary coalition at a time when the party there is polling higher than ever. Italy's Monica Frassoni is the continentwide face of this growing surge as co-president of the European Greens. And Brazil's Marina Silva, a rural labor activist and former environment minister, surprised everyone by forcing her country's recent presidential election into a runoff, placing a strong third with the highest vote share ever garnered by the Green Party there. What these women share isn't just political ambition; it's also their conviction that the environment is the electoral issue of the future . . .

Greens Call for Rejection of Cuts to Social Security and Medicare

From Green Party Watch:
Green Party leaders called on Congress and the American people to reject a proposal by President Obama’s Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform to scale back Social Security and require Medicare recipients to pay more out-of-pocket costs for services.

Greens said that the bipartisan commission’s recommendations, if supported by Mr. Obama and his fellow Democrats, would amount to a betrayal of voters, and called the attempt to link spending on Social Security with the deficit a deception. . . .

Nov 28, 2010

Exclusive: Wikileaks Document Outlines Concerns over German Libertarian Party's Support for Data Privacy and Individual Liberty

The recent Wikileaks diplomatic document dump contains a cable from shortly before Germany's 2009 general election, articulating worries among US diplomats that the German Free Democratic Party's strong support for individual data privacy and protections against unreasonable search and seizure might hinder the efforts of the American national security state.  Ironically, the author of the leaked cable scoffs at claims by FDP officials that the US government lacks effective data protection measures.

Germany's Free Democratic Party, or FDP, is the junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition between the CDU/CSU and FDP.  The party's chairman is Guido Westerwelle, who is currently serving as Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany in Merkel's cabinet.  In Germany's 2009 general election, the FDP garnered almost 15% of the vote and now holds 93 seats in the German parliament.  The FDP is usually referred to as a classical liberal, or libertarian, party for its strong defenses of economic liberalism and civil liberties.

The cable frames the FDP's support for citizens' privacy rights and individual liberties as a hindrance to US security strategy, and states that, if it were to join a ruling coalition in Germany, the party would scrutinize any proposals that would require sharing or accessing of information concerning private individuals.  The cable faults the party's "limited government viewpoint" for its opposition to data-sharing measures that would infringe on the privacy rights of individuals. 

In a most ironic turn, the leaked cable scoffs at FDP Parliamentarian Gisela Piltz, who cautioned against data-sharing operations with the US government on the grounds that the US government as a whole lacks effective data protection measures even as it accumulates massive amounts of data on innocent citizens.

Update:  See also TPID's follow-up post on a series of cables from 2009-2010 dealing with the FDP and data privacy:  Liberty vs. Security, the FDP and Data Privacy Policy.

WY: Crisis of Democratic Party is Opportunity for Third Parties and Independents

From the Billings Gazette:
The near wipeout of the Wyoming Democratic Party in the general election, coupled with the surprising showing of an independent write-in candidate for governor, is an opportunity for voters to look at third parties, old and perhaps new ones, political activists say. One of the surprises of the Nov. 2 general election was the write-in campaign of Taylor Haynes, a Tea Party member who also had the support of the Wyoming Constitution Party.

Haynes, a Laramie County rancher and retired physician, received nearly 14,000 votes to come in third in the Nov. 2 general election for governor. With 7 percent of the vote, Haynes outpolled Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Mike Wheeler of Casper, who received 5,362 votes. Wyoming Libertarians say there is talk of more third-party movements in the state, including the loosely knit Tea Party.

Nov 27, 2010

SC: Councilman's "Independent" Candidacy was Partisan Republican Ruse

From The State:

The upstart independent candidate who edged a veteran of the Lexington County GOP by 32 votes to become a county councilman has declared he is a Republican, five days after an election protest deadline.
Brad Matthews, 24, announced his party affliation at the Dutch Fork Republican Women’s Club’s Nov. 15 meeting. The 34-year-old club has members who live in Council District 7, which Matthews will represent when he takes office in Jan. 4.

WI: Support for Rational Drug Policy is Winning Issue for Independent Candidates

From The Independent Reporters:
Independent Candidates that were vocal on legalizing marijuana capture highest percentage of independent votes in 2010 Fall elections in Wisconsin.  As the smoke clears and dust settles from the candidate campaign trial everyone is taking notice of a couple news worthy items about the “cannabis candidates” talking about hemp and cannabis with truth, honesty and compassion.

Nov 26, 2010

FL: Green Party Member Arrested for "Email Stunt" Terror Threat

From the Broward Palm Beach New Times:

The woman charged by the FBI with making a threat that led to the lockdown of more than 300 Broward County schools after hearing the words of right-wing talker Joyce Kaufman isn't a member of the Tea Party -- she's a member of the Green Party.

Ellisa Martinez was arrested yesterday for making an emailed threat and a phone call to Kaufman's radio station, 850-AM, on November 10. In the email, Martinez feigned agreement with the fiery arch-conservative rhetoric of Kaufman and Sarah Palin, but she's she's officially on the other side of the ledger. According to the Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Office, Martinez is a member of the Green Party, a progressive left-wing group focused on environmental issues.

The FBI says that after Martinez saw a tape on MSNBC of Kaufman at a July 3 Tea Party rally, she fired off a threatening email that led to a lockdown at all Broward County schools. During the speech, Kaufman made her now-infamous statement that "if ballots don't work, bullets will."

CO: Tancredo Puckers Up to Kiss Republican Establishment's Ass, Stabs Constitution Party in the Back

From the Hill:
Former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) wants moderate Republicans and conservatives in Colorado to meet so they can come together to prevent divides that could lead to election losses.

Tancredo ran for governor this year against a Republican in a three-way race. Democrat John Hickenlooper wound up winning.

Tancredo said that Liberty Group leaders should meet with Republican leaders to figure out how they can work together.
Apparently, Tancredo falsely believes that the goals of the Republican Party are compatible with liberty.  

NYC: Reverend Billy Leads Buy Nothing Day Parade of Angels

Social activists Reverend Billy is a former Green Party candidate for mayor of NYC.  Today, he is leading a "parade of angels" in support of Buy Nothing Day:
Join The Life After Shopping Singers, Preachers and Angels!
Friday, November 26, 3 – 4 PM
Start from Columbus Circle East, near the angel statue
All trains to 59th Street

Along our parade route bank branches are everywhere: Chase, Citi, B of A, HSBC, Barclay’s, Amalgamated, TD, UBS, and Chase again. A pack of Demons! The marketing techniques of retail banking resembles any corporate consumer campaign, the same smiling actors with their promises of happiness, power, youth… The big banks also move hundreds of millions to super malls and chains, overwhelming neighborhood and community shops. Some of the banks, UBS especially – finance such earth-abusive activities as “Mountaintop Removal.”

Nov 24, 2010

Election Law Protects Ruling Class, Aids in Political Class War against Voters

From Richard Reeves on a change to California's redistricting laws:
A majority of voters [in CA] approved a proposition denying the right of the state legislature to draw the boundaries of legislative and congressional districts. From now on, the districts will be drawn by 14 ordinary citizens, men and women whose names have been drawn from a hat -- not exactly a hat, just one of those spinning cages full of pingpong balls they use in lotteries.

The devils of politics have always been in the details, and in recent American politics the details have been jiggered to favor incumbent congressmen and state legislators, many of them charmingly mediocre. They had the power, and still do in most states, to craftily craft districts to make it difficult to unseat incumbents of either party. In other words, American election laws are basically a contract between the Democrats and Republicans in office to preserve each other and keep outsiders where they belong, outside. Election rules. Ballot designs. Voter registration. All these things were designed to protect incumbents against ordinary voters.  [Emphasis added.]

GA: State Representative Admits the "Two-Party System" is a One-Party State

In a letter published at Madison Journal Today, Rep. Alan Powell explains his recent switch from the Democratic to the Republican party by arguing that the supposed "two-party system" does not exist and that Georgia is effectively a one-party state:
During my 20 years in the House, I have always been proud of my reputation as an independent voice, representing people first over any partisan political platform, and considered one of the General Assembly’s most fiscally responsible/conservative members on either side of the aisle. While Georgia – especially rural Georgia – has changed to a solidly Republican state over the past decade, I was re-elected in contested races by 60 percent of the vote in 2002 and 66 percent in 2006, as a Democrat. But I was the last elected Democrat serving in all of rural northeast Georgia.

When I was first elected in 1990 the Democrat Party was institutionalized, the only ticket to run on in rural Georgia. That has changed with the demographic changes in our state. Georgia’s results in the recent General Election brought an effective end, at least for the foreseeable future, to the two-party system in state government.

Ted Rall: The Two-Party State is a Failed State

From an interview at Street Roots:
Ted Rall: The United States is broken. Politically and economically, primarily, but I would argue in a lot of other ways, too. The economic system, I think it’s clear to everyone, has failed. Throughout the last four years, we’ve seen a decline in wages. People supplemented that by borrowing more money and so easy credit made up for that, to drive the consumer economy. But when the credit markets seized in 2008, suddenly you couldn’t earn money, you couldn’t borrow money. Now, there’s no new jobs and there’s no jobs program, so there’s not going to be any money. You also see a political system that’s monopolized by the Democratic-Republican duopoly, where a third party, like the Greens or the Libertarians, have no way of breaking in and therefore (the duopoly) doesn’t represent the vast majority of Americans. I cite four major events over the last 10 years that demonstrate that. . . .

NYU College Students Rehearse Dysfunction of Democrat-Republican Party Politics, Demonstrate the Effectiveness of Indoctrination into the Ideology of the Two-Party State

From NYU Local:

The debate between the NYU College Republicans and College Democrats last night proved little, aside from the fact that the two college clubs communicate as poorly with each other as their Washington DC counterparts, both in a political and a social context. First, there was confusion over the debate time (apparently the Democrats thought that it was at 7 instead of 6), and then over the debate procedure. But the two political clubs did manage to agree on what the debate topics were — the Bush tax cuts and cap and trade.

Nov 23, 2010

Anarchists Shut Down Neo-Nazi Rally in Des Moines, Iowa

From Info Shop News:
More than sixty anarchists, antifascists, catholic workers, communists, and everyday people from Iowa City, IA; Des Moines, IA; Omaha, Nebraska; and elsewhere converged in Des Moines on Saturday, November 20 to protest a scheduled ¨White Pride Day¨ rally organized by the American National Socialist Party based in Chillicothe, Ohio. Although a few suspected white nationalists were seen driving around the perimeter of the Iowa state capitol, where the fascist rally was supposed to be held, none apparently had the guts to get out of their cars and risk a confrontation with the large mob of antifascists.
You can see the announcement and poster for the Nazi rally here.  As of this writing, I have yet to find any reports on this rally and counter-protest in the mainstream and corporate media. 

CA: Neo-Nazi Receives Nearly 28% Support in Local Election

An article by Jeff Hall at the National Socialist Movement website announces that the Neo-Nazi candidate for Western Municipal Water District, Division 2, Riverside California, received nearly 28% support in elections held earlier this month.  Hall writes:
We will see the day when a National Socialist candidate receives the votes in their district to take public office. Today, November 3rd, 2010, I rest at 27.79% of the total votes in my district after receiving thousands of votes while running openly as a member of the National Socialist Movement. 
Another Nazi in California received roughly 10% support in a race for school board.  As the San Jose Mercury News reported:
National Socialist Movement regional leader Jeff Hall had 28 percent of the vote in his race for the Western Municipal Water District serving District 2 in Riverside after all precinct votes were counted. Incumbent Tom Evans had 72 percent.

Former Aryan Nations member Dan Schruender had 10 percent of the vote in the six-way race for two seats on the Rialto school board. Leading candidates Joanne Gilbert and Edgar Montes had more than 20 percent each.

Pirate Party Considers Helping Students Maintain Work Visas

From the Free Speech Zone blog:
At my University I learned that there were problems with students from "flagged" countries getting to the U.S. to flee the oppressive regimes they live under.  They wished to come to the U.S. through student visas yet those are being held up by the government and the university is not making an effort to get the paperwork and bureaucracy corrected.. . .

The United States Pirate Party is classified as a 527 PAC.  This means that we can do something called "I-9" in terms of contracting workers from foreign nations so they can do work for the USPP.   However, we will have them "work" but the pay will be low so the work will be minimal.  The point is that the work visas will allow the student to maintain legal residency while still being able to go to school in the U.S. . . . 

Nov 22, 2010

David Nolan, Founder of Libertarian Party, Passes Away: The Case for a Libertarian Political Party and the Myth of the Two-Party System

From Wes Benedict, at the Libertarian Party blog:
We have received news that David F. Nolan, a founder of the Libertarian Party, passed away this weekend. The Libertarian Party was founded in 1971 in Mr. Nolan's living room. He had remained active with the Libertarian Party including currently serving on the Libertarian National Committee and running for U.S. Senator from Arizona in the recent elections. He is survived by his wife Elizabeth. He will be dearly missed by the Libertarian Party and the liberty community. We'll have more information about David Nolan soon.
See also Independent Political ReportBallot Access News, and Uncovered Politics.  Uncovered Politics has re-published a seminal article by Nolan, entitled The Case for a Libertarian Political Party, from 1971.  In a central passage of the article, Nolan elaborates upon the idea that the "two-party system" is a myth:
The Myth of the Two-Party System
This statement may seem a little strong, at first reading – especially as most of us have been raised from first childhood to believe that the two-party system is The Best Of All Possible Arrangements.
We are told, for instance, that it is the hallmark of a free society – with the Soviet one-party system held up as its antithesis. Conversely, we are told that a multi-party system produces “chaos”, which in turn means loss of freedom for those persons so unfortunate as to live under such a system.
The fact of the matter, however, is that, logically speaking, if a one-party system is tyrannical, a two-party system is only one step removed from tyranny. And empirical evidence shows that citizens of a country which has a multi-party system can be just as free as we are here in the United States; such countries as Germany, France, and Australia, while hardly libertarian nirvanas, are not significantly more repressive than our own country – and Switzerland, which has a four-party system, is probably the least despotic of any of the world’s major nations.
The second popular argument against a multi-party system – that is produces “chaos” – is, from a libertarian viewpoint, actually an argument in its favor. The prospect of a coalition government, where any of a number of small parties can veto legislation, is far from horrifying to anyone who is inclined toward a limited-government (or no-government) philosophy.
A third argument, often brought to bear against anyone who advocates the establishment of a third party here in the United States, is that (historically speaking), third-party candidates “can’t win”. This argument has two basic flaws in it, however.
First, third-party candidates CAN win – especially in local or nonpartisan elections. Even at the national-government level, it happens occasionally. Third-party candidates have been elected to Congress more than one hundred times in this century, and there are two “third-party” Senators (Buckley and Byrd) in office at this very moment.
And second, “winning” (in the sense of electing someone to office) is not the only reason for having a political party – especially in the short term sense.
In fact, this very mania for “winning now” is one of the factors that makes both of our present major political parties unlikely vehicles for libertarianism. Both the Democrats and Republicans are so concerned with “winning” that they are almost rabidly hostile to the idea of candidates who would “rather be right than President”. A third party, in contrast, can take a long-range approach – running candidates with no intention of immediate victory, for the purpose of building up support and organization for future elections.

Nov 21, 2010

A Better Way To Have An Instant Runoff Vote.

This is a cross-posting from A New Kind of Third Party.

Because of the amount and quality of comments I get there, I've been posting quasi-daily over at Daily Kos, but I'll be taking Thanksgiving week off from posting.
Today, I posted about an idea to hybridize Instant Runoff Voting with Approval Voting, whereby there are three stages with the first stage disregarding voters' rankings of candidates to determine three finalists.

PS, I'm taking Thanksgiving week off from blogging and so I'd like to wish any readers a Happy Thanksgiving! We still do have much to be thankful for in my country and this world, even with times being tough. It's healthy to put our gripes with our world aside and focus more on what's good about it periodically and 'tis the season to do so!!!


Constitution Party Organizing in Alaska

From the Constitution Party discussion forum:
Support New Alaska Constitution Party
Welcome to Your New Political Home, the Alaska Constitution Party!  We are your choice for a party vigorously dedicated to upholding the principles of constitutional law. We exist to uphold the Alaska and U.S.A. Constitutions. We hope to educate the public and to field and support local, state and national candidates and issues important to us. We are awaiting approval of our proposed bylaws from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Alaska Division of Elections. Once approved, we will become an official "Political Group" until we can secure enough registered voters (about 8,000) to enable us to earn the designation as a Political Party with automatic ballot status in Alaska.

Alaskan voters may register as Alaska Constitution Party (ACP) members, by downloading the Alaska voter registration form, checking "Other" box in #13 Political Affiliation and filling out the blank line exactly with "Alaska Constitution Party" as your voter registration choice, then mail or deliver completed form to the nearest election office.

ACP Facebook:

ACP Meetup:

ACP Webring:;y=user158;u=defurl">&comid=user158

National Constitution Party:

Nov 20, 2010

Pirate Party: Stop the Internet Censorship Bill

From the Pirate Party of Oklahoma:
a group of Senators decided to move the United States one step closer to being able to censor the internet. The Senate Judiciary committee voted in favor of passing the “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act“. Oklahoma’s own Senator Tom Coburn is a cosponsor of this bill, and also serves on the committee where he voted in favor of it.

Critics of this bill include the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, as well as Reporters without Borders. The biggest problem with this bill is that it gives the Department of Justice the ability to declare any website as infringing on copyrights and then remove that website from the internet. There are two main problems with this ability . . . 
Read the rest. 

Virgil Goode Appointed to Constitution Party Executive Committee

From the Luger Enterprises blog:
Lancaster, PA (11/18/10)--Constitution Party National Committee Chairman, Jim Clymer, today announced the appointment of former Virginia Congressman, Virgil H. Goode, Jr. to the Constitution Party's Executive Committee. Goode had previously been appointed to the National Committee as a representative of Virginia, by that state's Constitution Party chairman, Howard Phillips.
"I am very pleased that Virgil Goode has accepted this appointment to serve on the Constitution Party's Executive Committee, said Clymer. "Virgil Goode is a man of tremendous stature with a wealth of experience in the public arena, having served in both the Virginia legislature and the United States House of Representatives. An educated patriot and constitutionalist, he has been a stalwart advocate of traditional American values, national sovereignty, state sovereignty and limited government."

Jesse Ventura to Avoid Air Travel in Protest of TSA

Former governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura, said in an interview with Alex Jones that he will boycott air travel to avoid invasive and unconstitutional searches conducted by the federal government in the name of supposed security.  From Infowars:
Ventura said he made the decision to avoid public aircraft after he found himself becoming too comfortable with being routinely searched. He said he was subjected to pat down and search three or four times a week when he traveled for his television show. Ventura had hip surgery and the metal in his body invariably sets off airport metal detectors. . . . Jesse said he will no longer be forced by the TSA to prove he is not a criminal or terrorist. He refuses to be considered guilty until proven innocent by the government in violation of the Fourth Amendment. He also admitted the decision not to fly may put an end to his career.

Nov 19, 2010

CT: Libertarian Party Offers Free Classes on Constitution and Economics

From the Norwich Bulletin:

The Libertarian Party of Connecticut is starting an outreach program to teach people about the U.S. Constitution and an Eastern Connecticut man is leading the effort.

Plainfield resident Dan Reale, a two-time candidate for Congress in the 2nd District, said the party will also be teaching economics. . . .

15 Reasons for Liberals and Progressives to Support the Green Party

An article at Corrente chides New York liberals and progressives for supporting Democrat Andrew Cuomo for governor, and provides fifteen reasons for liberals and progressives to support the Green Party, culled from Howie Hawkins' platform as Green candidate for governor in the state:
Here in New York, Cuomo’s election for Democratic Governor was a veritable cakewalk. All Cuomo did was sit back and let racist Paladino repel voters one sound bite at a time. David Koch, massive funder of the Tea Party movement, even donated $50,000 for Dem Cuomo’s campaign. CUOMO’S campaign!! I mean, clearly Republican Paladino was gonna lose. So why don’t the sociopathic fat cats grease the palms of the other war/money party candidates? Those contributions sure go far. Look at Obama’s choices. Cuomo even baldly invited Tea Partiers to vote for him due to his similar austerity platform to Paladino but without the verbal nastiness of his opponent. . . .

Okay, my blogs tend to run very long. So let me just throw out quickly 15 or so reasons I am SOLIDLY COMMITTED TO THE GREEN PARTY AND SUCH CANDIDATES AS NY’s HOWIE HAWKINS. Most of the following stances were cherry-picked from Hawkins’ recent election press releases via email . . .
1) TAX THE RICH!. . .
10) RAISE MINIMUM WAGE TO $12 AN HOUR! Generate public living wage jobs for the unemployed.
11) BAN ON HYDRAULIC FRACTURING!!! End hydrofracking.
13) BAN ON GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS! Also referred to as “Frankenfoods”.

CO: Independents Make Up a Third of the Electorate, but Have No Representation in Government

From the Colorado Independent:
Three-term incumbent Kathleen Curry finally threw in the towel in her write-in state House bid Wednesday afternoon, conceding to Democrat Roger Wilson but vowing to keep fighting to represent independent voters. . . .

According to state law, Curry changed her affiliation [from Democrat to Independent] too late in the process to be included on the ballot, forcing her to run as a write-in candidate, but she fought hard to show a path forward for other independents outside of the state’s two-party system. Unaffiliated voters make up about a third of the electorate in Colorado, with the GOP and the Dems roughly splitting the other two-thirds.

"American Three Winners" or "3-seated Hare LR" or ????

I ask over at A New Kind of Third Party for advice on which label to use to market the centerpiece of Strategic Election Reform to US voters. If you're picking up any vibes over the idea of using 3-seated elections for chronically non-competitive local elections then give me some input. I also link there to a script I wrote for a U-Tube video that would explain how "American Three Winners" works concretely.


Nov 18, 2010

MI: Inclusive 5th-Grade Class Presidential Debate a Model for Supposed Grownups

From Advisor and Source Newspapers:
After holding a primary election earlier this month, fifth-grade students at Morgan Elementary School participated in a presidential debate Nov. 15 before heading to the polls the next day.

The event was organized by Angelo Harwood, a teacher at the school. According to Hardwood, the students involved are learning about the election process and have begun to identify the political party - Democrat, Republican or Independent - with which they believe they most align. . . .
Representing the Republican Party during the debate were presidential candidate Eamonn Gehle and his running mate, Thomas Alsobrooks . . . Anna Davies aligned herself with the Democratic Party prior to the debate. She was joined by vice-presidential candidate Domenic Angeli . . . Third-party candidate Dante Candela chose to run as an Independent. His choice for vice president was Thomas Dunn.
Read the whole thing.  

The Strategy of Strategic Election Reform.

I'm glad this a Third Party and Independent Daily, because Third Parties in the US are often sadly pretentious and not as effective as they could be due to how we tend to get over-focused on the "important" elections at the top. I believe Strategic Election Reform(SER) entails elevating the public perception of "less important" elections and the status of state legislators. But this seems to go against the grain of how most of us think in the US.

It's also hard sometimes to communicate about electoral reforms with most folks in the US. I've been posting and interacting quite a bit recently over at Daily Kos as SElectionR. My most recent post has been "What is Strategic Election Reform and Why Should Kos-Folk Care?" I got a comment that I wanted to share with you all.
JRooth wrote,
I admit I'm one of those ...
who reacted somewhat sarcastically in your previous diaries. But I've tipped and recced this one for clarity and quality of presentation even though I'm not convinced this change is worth the effort of fighting for.

What I mean by that is that you're facing both entrenched interests in the two major parties, as well as a very big job changing the people's concept of what elections should be. The question in my mind is whether the existing system is really so hopeless that it's worth it to expend our efforts in that difficult process.

You're absolutely right, I think, to suggest doing this bottom-up. I can see some localities being willing to try it and if their results are good the idea would spread, first laterally and then even perhaps vertically.
I replied,
"Nothing worthwhile is easy!
thankyou, could you please help me draw some more attention to this better post?

My proposed use of 3-seated PR for local elections doesn't change most of how we do elections in the US.
The specific elections are chronically non-competitive. My proposed reform makes them competitive. It's solving a long-standing problem.
Is the system hopeless? It just tilts too easily to effective single party rule, which isn't as bad if it's the more progressive party ruling and intermediaries are influencing the parties through a variety of relatively selfless forms of activism. But that's been harder to do well lately due to the cultural wars and the extent of inequality in the US. As such, I believe that my proposal would take our system to the next level and that it would end up being the next civil rights movement.
JRooth's comment gave me hope, which sometimes falters for me due to how hard it is to communicate my ideas sometimes...

GA: Four Reasons for "Unprecendented" Libertarian Success at the Ballot Box

From Savannah Now:
Surveying the results, state party chief Daniel Adams called them a base "with which to move forward." Maybe, but it's a slender base, and the Libertarians have a long way to go before they can really compete with the major parties. Credit them for energy and skill, but four other things also helped them do better at the polls this year.
First, the greater number of televised debates that included Monds - who often did well - gained him and his party unprecedented exposure.
Second, speculation that he might siphon off enough votes to deprive the frontrunner a majority and force a runoff drew additional attention.
Third, Monds was an alternative for people who didn't like Deal or Barnes.
Last, the Libertarians seeking other offices faced long odds, but - except in the U.S. Senate race - not as long as they might have been.
Sure, voters knew almost nothing about them, but they knew little more about the major-party hopefuls, except for GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson.

NJ: Libertarian Party Plans Airport Protest on Opt-Out Day

From the NJ Libertarian Party:
The NJ Libertarian Party is joining We Won't Fly by organizing the National Opt Out Day demonstration at Newark Airport. On Wednesday, November 24th we urge all travelers who are "selected" to undergo the intrusive full body scanning to Opt Out. Instead they will be forced to participate in the more time consuming and humiliating enhanced "pat downs". The pat downs include moving hands up legs until contact pressure is made with genitals.  We are meeting on November 24th at 6:00 PM at the bar of Chile's Too in terminal B. Demonstrations will start at 6:30.  Our goal is to raise awareness among travelers over this new TSA procedure.

Revolutionary Communist Party Drafts "Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America"

From the Revolutionary Communist Party:
This Constitution (Draft Proposal) is written with the future in mind. It is intended to set forth a basic model, and fundamental principles and guidelines, for the nature and functioning of a vastly different society and government than now exists: the New Socialist Republic in North America, a socialist state which would embody, institutionalize and promote radically different relations and values among people; a socialist state whose final and fundamental aim would be to achieve, together with the revolutionary struggle throughout the world, the emancipation of humanity as a whole and the opening of a whole new epoch in human history–communism–with the final abolition of all exploitative and oppressive relations among human beings and the destructive antagonistic conflicts to which these relations give rise.
Eric Odom of the Constitution Party comments on the proposal and party in an article at World Net Daily:
Gary Odom, national field director with the Constitution Party of the United States, knows the RCP well and describes them as "outlandish" and "hysterical," even within the socialist movement.
"The RCP has been around for a long time," he says, and while he believes the two parties that "pretty much control this country" are "totally corrupt," he hopes that people don't give up on the ballot box.
"There are people who talk about bullets instead of ballots, but that would be a bad thing for this country, for sure," he said.

CO: Denver Post Whines about Constitution Party's New Status as Major Party

From the Denver Post:
The sudden rise of the ACP — and the near collapse of the Republican Party — exposed disparities in state laws that govern political parties. (Had the GOP's Dan Maes not topped 10 percent of the gubernatorial vote, the party would have lost its major-party status.)

Earlier, we wrote an editorial calling on lawmakers to address some of the disparities. For example, minor-party candidates aren't allowed to collect campaign donations in the same manner as their big league peers.

However, ACP officials, who are now faced with myriad new challenges as a major party, are trying to take advantage of their newfound status in ways we think are unfair.

NJ: Councilman's Resignation Leads to Calls for Non-partisan Town Council

See this post at Poli-Tea for background.  From North Jersey news:
An Englewood Cliffs councilman resigned from his seat recently saying he was fed up with the borough's two-party system's focus on political victories rather than serving the community efficiently. While the borough's Democrats and Republicans have argued about who is causing the problems, this brings up a point.
Political parties may play a role in setting the government's agenda on the national level, but town councils do not need Democrats and Republicans. They need open-minded leaders to responsibly deliver their communities a good quality of life.
There are certainly examples of mayors and council members working across the political aisle, but there are just as many instances of block voting by party members.
Voting on ordinances shouldn't be done by party line. It should be done on what the person thinks is best for the residents.
You'd think that we would want elected representatives voting in favor of what is best for constituents, rather than some party, at all levels of government.  Our state legislatures, governor's houses, the US Congress and White House don't need Democrats and Republicans either.

Nov 17, 2010

Pirate Party Exclusive: DHS/TSA Security Theater is Reactive and Ineffective, Aims at Compliance and Submission

The importance of protecting and strengthening the rights to privacy and transparent government are emphasized at the very top of the Pirate Party of Oklahoma's platform.  As the Pirate Party has also long been critical of full-body scanners and "enhanced pat-downs," I contacted the Administrator of the PPOK, Marcus Kessler, for comment on the recent uproar and controversy over the DHS/TSA's new security protocols.  Markus was kind enough to provide a detailed response, which is published in full below.

TPID: What is the Pirate Party's response to the TSA/DHS's roll-out of the new and highly invasive body scanner screening procedures and "enhanced pat-downs"?
Marcus Kessler:  The Pirate Party is really not surprised that the TSA is pushing heavily to get these machines deployed. Every time a new plot is discovered, such as the "Christmas Bomber" or the "Printer Cartridge Plot", it becomes more obvious that the current tactics and security theatre orchestrated by the TSA are ineffective. Not surprisingly, instead of realizing that the current system does not provide any meaningful safety, the TSA responds to each incident with further reactionary and ineffective directives. A good example is the current use of "Trace Explosive Detection Technology". These devices are used to swab carry-on luggage and passengers hands to test for the presence of explosives including PETN, the type of explosive reported to have been found inside the [bomb-rigged] ink-toner cartridges last month. The TSA reports that we have spend $15 million on this technology in 2010, and the 2011 federal budget calls for $39 million to be used to purchase this technology. Since ink-toners are now at risk of containing PETN, we are no longer allowed to bring toner and ink cartridges over 16 ounces on a plane. It appears that we are spending over $50 million on technology that is so ineffective, the TSA thinks it is safer to just ban these objects from the sky, instead of trusting this expensive technology.  
We also take great issue with the current use of the "enhanced pat-down" as a punitive measure to ensure greater compliance and submission to the enhanced imaging devices. There have been multiple reports that the strategy employed by the TSA is to make the pat-down so intrusive that passengers will choose to be viewed naked on screen instead of being touched. We don't think that having to choose between "show your scrotum on screen or let us touch your scrotum" qualifies as a reasonable search according to the constitution. The physical pat-down is also more time consuming, often requiring passengers to wait on a qualified employee that has been trained on the enhanced pat-down, or an employee of the same gender. At the same time, many airports that use the imaging devices have reduced the number of lanes that can be used for screening. This leads to longer wait times which requires passengers to decide whether to allow the TSA to view their naked body, or opt-out of the screening and risk missing their flight.

The only real surprise to the Pirate Party of Oklahoma is the fact that only lately there has been a large outcry about these operations. The use of enhanced imaging devices has been a target of the PPOK since our formation in January, and our members have been vocal opponents of this technology since it was introduced. We are glad to see that people are becoming more aware of this issue, but at the same time we are sad to realize that for a long timeframe people did not mind having this technology render them naked.

Marcus Kesler
Pirate Party of Oklahoma

Eliot Cutler: The Major Parties are Increasingly Irrelevant

In a post-election discussion with the Portland Press Herald, former Independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler has vowed to remain politically active and argues that the major parties are increasingly irrelevant.  From the Portland Press Herald:
A week after his close second-place finish in the gubernatorial race, Eliot Cutler was tight-lipped about his political future but did not rule out another run for elected office. "I don't know what I'm going to do," the independent candidate said. "I'm going to stay active politically." . . .

Cutler met with the editorial board of The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram last week for an election post-mortem. Among the things he would have changed if he could: persuade the media to pay less attention to the "horse race" and polling; end early absentee voting; persuade former Gov. Angus King to make his endorsement earlier.

Cutler said he believes the two major parties are becoming increasingly irrelevant . . .  "The parties are no longer mediating differences among people," he said. Cutler said the parties fail to serve most of their followers, but they benefit from election laws that give them an advantage over independent candidates such as himself.
Read the rest. 

New Contributor

As you might have noticed, there is another new contributor here at Third Party and Independent Daily, David L. Wetzell.  Dave maintains the blog A New Kind of Third Party, where he writes in support of strategic election reform.  In his most recent post there, he elaborates on the idea and concludes:
I simply don't buy any of the other solutions being proffered right now for the US's problems. The only way forward is to subvert the disastrously cut-throat rivalry between the two major parties that stems from the tendency of the US's political system to tilt to effective single-party rule . . . 
In his first post here at TPID, Dave provided an introduction to his ideas about how best to achieve that end, namely, by incorporating winner-doesn't-take-all elections into our existing US electoral system.  He'll be posting under the handle DLW.  Welcome aboard Dave!

Lesser Evil Voting Guarantees a Broken System

From a letter to the editor of the South Bend Tribune:
In response to Tim Goode’s (Voice, Nov. 9) belief that a vote for a third party candidate is a “wasted” vote, consider this: Goode would have us all believe that voting for the lesser of two evils is the smarter, more practical choice.

My contention is that continuously voting for inferior and/or incompetent (yet popular) candidates virtually guarantees that the existing broken system will still be in place when my children inherit it.

By voting our conscience, regardless of party affiliation, we help in a small way to change that system. Perhaps if everyone in agreement with Libertarian views were to vote their opinion, rather than for whom they expect will win, those people would be noticed. These voters of conscience would in turn be noticed by others, including the media, and within a few election cycles we could actually effect change. To steal a phrase, only a fool would do the same thing over and over and expect different results. Will it work? Heck if I know.

We haven’t tried it yet. Is this how the framers of our Constitution intended the process to work? You betcha.
Nick Castelucci

Nov 16, 2010

Why is 3-seated Hare-Largest Remainder the Bomb?

This is my first post at third party and independent daily. It is reposted from my blog, "A New Kind of Third Party". But I need to provide a little bit of background to clarify it. I have been a self-taught student and independent advocate for election reform for the last three years. I've arrived at my "brand" of Strategic Election Reform(SER) from dialogues with election reformers in the US and with normal people from a variety of ideological backgrounds and education. The central premise of Strategic Election Reform is the idea that there are two basic types of elections: Winner-Take-All and Winner-Doesn't-Take-All and we need to use both at the same time to make our democracy robust. Since in the US, we almost exclusively use winner-take-all elections, the implication of SER is that we need to restore balance between the two types of elections as soon as possible. This is best done by taking the path of least resistance to incorporate the use of winner-doesn't-take-all elections within our existing US electoral system. The two secondary premises of SER are that (1)we only need to use Winner-Doesn't-Take-All elections in more local elections and the primaries for Winner-Take-All elections, neither of which would end two-party dominance in the United State of America and (2) one election rule doesn't fit all elections or the specific sorts of options given voters(IRV, Approval/Range Voting, Cumulative Voting) are of second order importance, especially for Winner-Doesn't-Take-All elections. A corollary of the second premise is that it is important to keep election rules simple for voters.

These premises reflect how I am less ambitious than some in my goals for electoral reform. However, I also believe that the effects of SER's goals would be of immense long-term benefit for moving the US Toward a Winner-Doesn't-Take-All Electoral System with positive spill overs for the entire world, which is why 3-seated Hare LR is the bomb!

1. With an infinite number of possible forms of proportional representation(PR), 3-seated Hare-LR (also known as Hare-Niemeyer) is the only form of PR that works almost exactly like the US's existing election rule First-Past-the-Post(FPTP), which it turns out is 1-seated Hare-LR. There is one candidate per party and one vote per voter. The typical outcome is that the top three candidates(in terms of percent of votes received) get one seat each. However, if the top candidate beats the third place candidate by more than one-third of the total vote then (s)he wins two seats for their party and gets to pick a team-mate to hold the second seat.

So what? This makes it easier to implement. It lets voters vote for the candidate, not the party as they are accustomed to doing and it is easier to explain than other forms of PR that let voters vote for the candidate. That's why the idea is called "Strategic Election Reform"(SER).

2. 3-seated Hare LR is biased in favor of smaller parties and therefore would help elect third party candidates. Since the top third party candidate has to beat the top candidate's percent minus 33.33%, the bar is relatively low. If the top candidate got 43% of the vote then the top third party candidate would only need to get ten percent of the vote to get elected.

So what? The 3-person cumulative voting rule used in Illinois set the bar at 25% for a third party candidate to win the third seat. This is a better deal, especially for local third parties that specialize in contesting more local and winnable elections. Smaller local third (LT) parties would be great checks on the influence of $peech on the major parties, since their smaller scope would not require large sums of cash to fund elections. And if 3-seated Hare LR in state representative elections were coupled with a plurality vote to determine the leader of the state house of representatives, then third party state representatives would determine which of the two major parties is in power. That would give them further voice with the two major parties and be what keeps either major party from dominating a state's politics. The trick is to give the leadership of the party in power additional controls so as to get things done, so third party and major party representatives do not get too much power.

3. If we take as a given that intere$t$ are going to try to influence political leaders then if they were unable to predict which major party is going to be in power in a state house of representatives they would have to hedge their bet$ (or $peech) between the two major parties. If they hedge then they would need to accept a lower and more variable return on their "investment".

So what? In the business world, if the return on an investment is lower and more variable then it tends to receive less funds. Thus, if intere$t$ were forced to hedge more between the two major parties, they would also be discouraged from investing, or exerting as much influence on them. Also, if $peech from intere$t$ (or wealthy candidates) is a crucial input for a party to win important winner-take-all elections then more equality in the amounts of $peech donated to the major parties would tend to make more winner-take-all elections competitive at the state and federal levels. There are other ways that SER would tend to make winner-take-all elections become more competitive. SER favors smaller local third (LT) parties that specialize in contesting local winnable elections with its advocacy for multi-seated elections for local/state elections. The tendencies of LT parties to vote strategically together in winner-take-all elections and to help make voters better informed and to get habitual nonvoters to vote again would together also make more winner-take-all elections competitive. And if more winner-take-all elections became competitive then more intere$t$ would need to hedge even further, which would continue to reduce the influence of their $peech.

Thus, a seemingly modest change in the election rule used in a state legislature that most people do not care about would impact the US entire electoral system. $peech would be checked the "natural" way without complicated and hard to enforce campaign finance reforms, or public funding for elections. Albeit, if the influence of $peech were weakened by SER then more strategic campaign finance regulations and some public funding would become available. And that is what makes 3-seated Hare-Largest Remainder the bomb!


Van-Mounted Body Scanners Coming Soon to a Street Near You?

With all of the controversy surrounding the TSA's security protocols and expanded use of full body scanners at airports across the country, it should be recalled that efforts by law enforcement agencies are already underway to move these machines from the airports and into our streets.  From the US Pirate Party, this past September:
US law enforcement agencies are among the customers of a Massachusetts-based company that is selling full-body scanners to be mounted inside vans and used on streets, says a report from Forbes.

American Science & Engineering, based in Billerica, Mass., told Forbes blogger Andy Greenberg that it has sold more than 500 "Z Backscatter Vans," mobile x-ray scanning units that can be used to detect bombs, contraband and smuggled people inside nearby cars.

The company says its largest customer by far is the US military, which has purchased the machines to search for car bombs and other threats in war zones. But AS&E's vice president of marketing, Joe Reiss, said US law enforcement agencies have also bought the machines "to search for vehicle-based bombs in the US," Greenberg reports.

AS&E has not revealed the names of its US law enforcement customers, or how many of the machines they bought. But Reiss describes the van-mounted scanning system as "the largest selling cargo and vehicle inspection system ever."

News of the mobile scanners has alarmed civil libertarians who worry the technology could be used to violate people's privacy without legal justification.
Read the rest.

Open Primaries and Moderation in Politics

From the Soo Evening News:
The tendency of partisan primaries to produce candidates further to the right or left for the majority of the electorate is nothing new or unique to one or two states. As long as the candidates in general elections are determined in party primaries, party activists — who tend to be more liberal or conservative than the general population — will dominate the decision-making process. But if we let primary voters select candidates of either party (or no party at all) in one primary open to all, we would encourage more candidates to move to the center. That’s where party nominees typically try to position themselves after general elections, though those efforts often have little credibility, given their primary campaign rhetoric.

Nov 15, 2010

Democrats Polling Near Historic Low, Now Even with GOP

Cross posted at Rise of the Center

The latest Gallup tracking poll is showing approval ratings for democrats are holding steady near historic lows, while the GOP is up a bit, but still within the range they’ve seen since they took a major dive in 2005.

(The red lines in the charts below are my modifications, to highlight the trends.)

As you can see, the democrats have been seeing a steady decline since later in 2008… probably when it started to become clear that President Obama wasn’t much different from most other politicians. Will those numbers continue to fall?

The republicans took their big plunge a few years ago, and have been fluctuating between 35% and 47% since. They look to be trending up over the last year or so, but I’d bet that that trend will reverse over the coming months, especially if the GOP doesn’t pass that earmark ban and doesn’t deliver on promises of working on the deficit.

Broad Political Opposition to Full Body Scanners: Greens, Libertarians, Constitution Party, Pirate Party United in Opposition

With opposition to the Transportation Security Administration's newest "security" measures growing by the day, it is worth noting that there is broad political opposition to the false choice between strip search and sexual assault.  Full body scanners are notably opposed by Ralph Nader and Matt Drudge, and opposition to the new procedures has received a significant boost from both Prison Planet and Reddit.  Third party and independent activists are also vocal opponents of the new devices as well as "enhanced pat-downs."  For instance:
Constitution Party activists have long been opposed to full body scanners on the grounds of privacy and health risks, not to mention their constitutional qualms. 

• Libertarians are vocal opponents of "abusive TSA strip-search machines."

The Pirate Party warned two months ago that local law enforcement and agents of the national security state have plans to roll these machines out from the airports and into our city streets. 

• At On the Wilder Side, Independent Green activist Kimberly Wilder has been leading the call for a passenger revolt against full body scanners since the new machines and measures were unveiled by DHS/TSA late last month. 
Over the last month, numerous citizens' groups have been founded in opposition to the newest outrage from the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Agency.  Among them are Fed Up Flyers, We Won't Fly, and Opt Out Day, which are organizing a national day of resistance against invasive strip searches and state-sponsored sexual molestation on one of the most hectic travel days of the year: November 24th.

IL: Green Matt Reichel Announces Bid for Alderman

From Matt Reichel:
Matt Reichel, two-time Green Party nominee for Congress in Illinois’s 5th District, has announced to supporters that he will try to unseat 9-term alderman Gene Schulter in the upcoming municipal elections.

Reichel won about 1,000 votes in the 47th ward part of the 5th district in last week’s election, and believes he can make up the difference needed to beat Schulter. He told supporters:

Despite our vast disadvantage in resources and organization, we pulled nearly 1,000 votes in the ward for the Green Party vision. 1,000 votes for grassroots democracy. 1,000 votes for sustainable economics. 1,000 votes for peace. 1,000 votes for real monetary reform.

There are thousands of other progressives out there, who either voted Democrat out of fear of a Republican take over, or did not vote out of frustration with American electoral politics. There are thousands more, who are ready to join our movement, and make history in 2011.

Reichel says he has the necessary signatures in hand, and intend to file on Monday morning.

Australia: Green Party Introduces Legislation to Stop Further Increase in Mortgage Interest Rates

From Bloomberg:

Australia’s Greens Party will introduce legislation in the lower house today in a bid to place restraints on the ability of Westpac Banking Corp. and its closest competitors to increase mortgage interest rates. The Greens aim to put a 24-month freeze on the so-called “Big Four” domestic banks, banning them from raising their interest charges by more than the Reserve Bank of Australia’s increases . . .

The Culture of “Permenent Victimhood” Prevalent on ALL Sides

Cross Posted at Rise of the Center

Ben Smith, at Politico, wrote a side comment about something that didn’t make the cut into a post about an interview he did with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.

“I’m not calling on conservatives to claim victimhood, I’m not saying, ‘Poor us,’” he said, noting that he’s “never written a letter-to-the-editor” or “yelled at a reporter or editor.”

“I do worry if we as a country develop this sense of permanent victimhood where everybody is entitled and everybody is part of some aggrieved class,”Jindal continued.

He didn’t mention Sarah Palin by name and there’s no reason to think that’s who he had in mind. But this viewpoint — an unambiguous discomfort with anything smacking of identity politics — stands in stark contrast to Palin’s m.o.

Boy, I’m not sure I could agree more.

Really though, are there any major politicians who don’t fit into this? I can tell you with 100% certainty that I catch myself doing this all the time, and I’m also 100% sure that you could find posts on this very blog where I let myself slide into that as well… but I also make a concerted effort to call out our own.

Its as much our own fault that we’ve allowed the two parties to walk all over us… its our responsibility in a democracy to represent ourselves. As much as they can be criticized for putting up unfair institutional hurdles… it ultimately is up to us to fight for what we want to see in government.

But seriously… can you find a pundit that doesn’t fit this stereotype? The Democrats took on this mantle with a gusto a few months before the election, especially when they took on those talking points about outside spending that was going on with GOP allied groups… even though their groups were spending just as much.

I’ve been saying this a lot lately, in one form or another… but where is the group that will come out to say something like… “we understand the country is hurting… its time all but those that are hurting the most to sacrifice a bit for the long term greater good of the country”?

Its good to point out when politicians are damaging our country… but WE need to bite the bullet and be that group of voters, or its just not going to happen.

Nov 12, 2010

What Do You Care About More? Your Tax Deduction, or Your Country’s Future?

Cross posted at Rise of the Center

David Brooks, fairly moderate conservative columnist at the New York Times, puts the issue of our nation’s debt situation into crystal clear context in the following clip:

It will take a revived patriotism to get people to look beyond their short-term financial interest to see the long-term national threat. Do you really love your tax deduction more than America’s future greatness?

This is really what it comes down to, and applies to every segment of the population. The President’s Fiscal Commission’s recommendations requires sacrifice from all but the lower income brackets… and that is how it should be. We all enabled the selfish over spending and under taxing that led to the mess we are in right now, and we all should bear some of the weight of beginning to fix it.

This is not something that either side of the political spectrum has been honest enough to say for a generation or so. Both parties have only tried to one up themselves in selling out our future prosperity, the GOP mainly through cutting taxes without cutting enough spending and the democrats mostly through spending far more than they are willing to raise taxes to pay for. Like I’ve said elsewhere though, those of us who do see this are just as much to blame as we have enabled them to do this by supporting their parties, not abandoning them and organizing an effective opposition or forming factions inside the parties that force the issue.

What we need is to take on the spirit that John F. Kennedy asked us to take on…

Like the civil rights movement, this movement will ask Americans to live up to their best selves. But it will do other things besides.

It will have to restore the social norms that prevailed through much of American history: when narcissism and hyperpartisanship was mitigated by loyalties larger than tribe and self; when competition between the parties was limited and constructive, not total and fratricidal.

This movement will have to build institutions to support the leaders who make the hard bargains. As in the civil rights era, politicians won’t make big changes unless they are impelled and protected by a social upsurge.

Both parties have made themselves abundently clear, over the last generation, that they are more than willing to sell our financial security down the river to win another election by making promises they can’t pay for and rewarding their political allies with mountain ranges of borrowed money. If this issue is to be resolved, it is up to us.

We need to be the movement that values common sense, long term stability over selfish, short term gain.

Read the rest of Brooks’ column at the New York Times >>

OK: Pirate Party Endorsed Candidate Received 20% Support in Race for State Legislature

From the Oklahoma Pirate Party:

The Pirate Party of Oklahoma would like to take this opportunity to thank the candidates that have received our endorsements and congratulate them for standing up for democracy in Oklahoma. It takes courage to become involved in the political process, and these candidates endured hardships and time away from their families in order to bring choice to Oklahoma. We are happy to share the preliminary results of their campaigns:
  • Angelia O’Dell, US Representative, District 1: 23.19%
  • Clark Duffe, US Representative, District 5: 1.75%
  • Zachary Knight, State Representative, District 46: 19.7%
  • Edward Shadid, State Representative, District 85: 10.53%
Again, the Pirates want to give a very heartfelt thank you to these candidates for running, and for accepting our endorsement.
Knight and Shadid, respectively, were previously identified by the OKPP as Independent/Green and Independent/Libertarian candidates.

CO: Constitution Party Prepares for Major-Party Status Following Tancredo's Run for Governor

From Denver Westward:
By inching over 10 percent of the vote last Tuesday, Dan Maes saved the Colorado Republican Party from the humiliation of falling to minor-party status. But while Tom Tancredo didn't win the race, his 30 percent-plus of the vote elevated the American Constitution Party to a major Colorado party.

"We haven't been officially notified yet of major-party status," says Doug "Dayhorse" Campbell, who was the ACP's lieutenant governor candidate on the November ballot until Tancredo took over the top slot, and brought in his own second, Pat Miller. "I guess it's nice to be thought if in that way -- but we're still just really a small party."
Campbell predicts Republicans and Democratic lawnakers will change the rules to ensure that the Constitution Party does not retain its major-party status. 

CO and CA: Constitution Party Candidates for Governor Led the Third Party Pack

From Constitution Party News:
Tom Tancredo's American Constitution candidacy in Colorado won 620,632 votes. This total is far and away the top votal total for any candidate outside the Democrat or Republican Party. It appeared near the end that he might win the race. His total percentage nearly doubled his poll numbers when he entered the race. His race assured the American Constitution Party of Colorado major party status in that state. He received more than three times as many votes as his Republican opponent.

Receiving the second highest vote total of all of the "alternative party" candidates for Governor across the country was Chelene Nightingale in California. Nightingale, the Constitution Party endorsed American Independent nominee attracted, according to the California Secretary of State, 133,716 votes, or 1.7% of the total vote for the six candidates for Governor (the California results for Governor are amazingly still incomplete). To put this result in some perspective, Chelene won more than twice as many votes than the AIP nominee for Governor received four years ago, in 2006. She also, obviously, ran ahead of all of the other "alternative party" in California in this election. In recent years AIP candidates had generally placed well back in the crowd, or dead last, in Gubernatorial contests in California.

Nov 11, 2010

Maine: The Two-Party System is On the Way Out

From Gordon Weil at Maine's Morning Sentinel:
Since 1974, when Maine began to see credible independent candidates for governor, there have been 10 gubernatorial elections in Maine. Independents ran in nine of them.

Only two were won by candidates who captured a majority of the vote. In other words, eight of the last 10 Maine governors were elected by less than half of the voters.

The two exceptions were Democrat Joseph Brennan, who faced only a Republican when he ran for re-election in 1982, and independent Angus King, who won re-election over both parties’ candidates in 1998. Both won handily.

Maine has come to expect independents running for governor. Not only was King elected twice and Jim Longley elected once, but independents have run strongly in three other elections. That means that in six of the 10 races, independents were a key factor. . . .

Maine independent candidates may be here to stay. Longley and King showed that an independent candidate provides a choice who can win. Public financing of elections, fully in effect in only Maine and Arizona, also promotes independent candidacies.

The fact that in five of the last 10 elections, independents have either won or strongly influenced the outcome could send a message to the two major parties. If the multicandidate party primaries produce the most liberal Democrat or the most conservative Republican, the results open the way for an independent.

That’s the opportunity independent Eliot Cutler thought he saw this year.

Nov 10, 2010

WaPo Columnist Calls for Radical Centrist Third Party Movement

From Matt Miller at the Washington Post:

I'm a Clinton White House alum who had hoped President Obama could usher in the debate we need. It's hardly all his fault that we're not there, but I'm convinced the parties' interest groups and "thought police" make real progress impossible without a new force that shakes things up. Democrats and Republicans care first and foremost about winning elections, a task that bears no necessary relationship to actually solving our major problems. Having our two-party duopoly control the terms of debate may have sufficed when America was the world's dominant economy, with little competition. But those days are gone. The challenges we face are serious. People know our current arrangements aren't up to them.
Anecdotal evidence: Speaking to 400 professionals of all stripes in California the other day, I asked who would be seriously interested in a third major political party. Fiscally conservative, socially liberal. Nearly every hand shot up.  Something's afoot and it's not just about the Tea Party. The radical center is ready to rise.

Oregon Chapter of the Pirate Party Up and Running

From the Pirate Party:
The United States Pirate Party is pleased to announce that after much hard work and effort, Oregon Pirate Party is now officially recognized by Administrator Brittany Phelps as our third state party. Congratulations, Oregon!

The Oregon Pirate Party (or OPP) is headed up by Communications Officer Andrew Bradshaw IV, Liaison Officer Ken Brown, and Promotions Officer Rafel Ubaldo.

You can find out more about the OPP by going to, the OPP's new website. Their next hurdle will be to receive party recognition from the state of Oregon, so we wish them the best of luck! 
The Oregon Pirate Party can be found at

Nov 9, 2010

MN-House: Strongest Showing by Third Party and Independent Candidates Since 1944

From Eric Ostermeier at Smart Politics:
A Smart Politics analysis of election returns since the early 1940s finds that the 5 percent mark notched by third party and independent candidates on Election Day across six congressional districts in Minnesota was the largest such number since 1942, the last election cycle before the DFL merger.

Poll: 31% of GOP Primary Voters Lean Toward Third Party if Palin is GOP Nominee

From Rasmussen, via KintlaLake:
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 31% of likely primary voters say they are at least somewhat likely to consider supporting a third-party candidate for president if former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is the GOP nominee. That includes 17% who say it is Very Likely. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
If ex-Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who unsuccessfully sought the nomination in 2008, is the 2012 nominee, 24% say they are at least somewhat likely to consider a third-party candidate, with 11% who say it is Very Likely.
Twenty-eight percent (28%) are at least somewhat likely to consider a third-party option if another 2008 hopeful, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, wins the party’s presidential nomination. This finding includes 12% who say it is Very Likely.
With former House Speaker Newt Gingrich as the nominee, 27% say they’d be likely to consider a third-party contender, including 13% who say they would be Very Likely to do so.

Michele Machmann Brags that She Helped Co-Opt Tea Party Movement and Undermine Independence of American Voters

Michelle Bachmann in an interview with Politico:

"I was instrumental in bringing tens of thousands of people to the U.S. Capitol to rally against Obamacare and to attend our press conference. I’ve been able to highly motivate people — from disaffected Democrats to independents to Republicans to nonpolitical people. My voice has been one that has rallied people to come to the cause. There was a real question, even 18 months ago, about whether the tea party would become a third party. I worked really hard to pull them to our party because we have to have a two-party system," says Bachmann. 

Nov 8, 2010

MA: Cahill Regrets Running with Republican, Faults RGA for GOP Loss in Gov Race

From NECN:
The Independent candidate for Massachusetts governor, Tim Cahill, says it wasn't his fault Republican Charlie Baker lost to Deval Patrick.  Cahill told the Boston Herald the Republican party is to blame for its own candidate's defeat. He says the Republican Governors Association strategy backfired. Cahill says he personally is to blame for his own loss and it was a "mistake" to partner with Paul Loscocco.
The Republican in this race had previously blamed Cahill for being a "spoiler" and causing his loss to the Democrat. 

MA: Independent Candidate Describes Leftwing Tea Partisan Campaign for Congress

From Mr. Zine by Michael Engel:
I ran as an independent candidate for Congress in Massachusetts against a visibly tired and increasingly unpopular but entrenched liberal Democratic incumbent, and a Tea Party Republican.  My message was, "The old system is broken -- let's start building a new one!"  I stated that I wanted to fight what I described as the trend towards a corporate state.  In that context, I criticized an overgrown and unresponsive federal government, Obamacare, the stimulus package, financial regulatory legislation, and the bailouts.  In short, I took the Tea Party line leftward.

I advocated a decentralized, community-based approach to economic recovery and job creation and I explicitly described myself as a "democratic socialist" on economic issues.  I participated in four debates, got lots of radio interviews and decent media coverage, and was endorsed by at least one local paper, with favorable comments in two more.  The state Green-Rainbow Party endorsed my candidacy . . . 

ME: Competitive Three-Way Race for Governor Leads to Calls for Runoff Elections

From a letter to the editor of the Sun Journal:

Regardless of how one feels about Paul LePage, Maine will have a governor for the next four years who 62 percent of the voters voted against. Some states have a system in which if no candidate receives a majority, there is a run-off election between the top two candidates.

As strong independent candidates seem to have become a regular part of Maine's system, it seems to be important that the state adopt that process. It would be worth the extra expense and bother in order to have a leader who can claim the support of a majority of the voters.
Scott Efland, Auburn

On the Imbecility of Democrat-Republican Two-Party Politics

From The Greanville Post:
None of the major issues confronting the American people—the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, two wars, spreading poverty, hunger and homelessness, the plague of foreclosures, mounting attacks on democratic rights, the worst environmental catastrophe in US history—were seriously discussed. Most were not discussed at all. Instead, the candidates of the Democratic and Republican parties engaged in a war of mutual mudslinging, inanities, diversions and outright lying on a scale without precedent even in the dismal history of American elections. More than $4 billion was spent by the two parties and various corporate-backed groups created for the purpose of smearing one set of candidates on behalf of the other.

IA: "Unusually High Share" of Votes for Third Party Candidates in 2010

From Bleeding Heartland:
This summer, the Libertarian Party in Iowa embarked on a "10 percent strategy," hoping to win 2 percent of the vote for governor in order to secure major-party status in 2012. Iowa lacks a tradition of strong third-party voting like our neighbor to the north, and the unofficial results indicate that no alternative to Terry Branstad and Chet Culver cleared the 2 percent threshold in the governor's race. Iowa Party candidate Jonathan Narcisse came closer to that mark than Libertarian Eric Cooper.

Although no third party is set up to have a larger statewide impact in 2012, minor party candidates received an unusually high share of the vote in some areas. In a few races, the votes for third-party candidates exceeded the difference between the Democrat and the Republican. . . .
Read the rest for the full rundown.