Showing posts with label Republican. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Republican. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Maine Republicans: Where's Waldo?!

[Important update at end of post]

Last week, the Maine Republican Party reported that Mitt Romney had defeated Ron Paul in the state’s caucuses by a scant 194 votes. The mainstream media dutifully reported this ‘fact,’ and went on to other issues. Political Bloggers, however, would not let the issue rest, as the announcement was made before 17% of the precincts in Maine had voted. The state party openly admitted that the votes from Washington County had not been included in the final count, as the precincts in that county had not yet cast votes: they were postponed until this weekend due to the forecast of a major snowstorm. The decision to exclude Washington County raised eyebrows, as that county is home to the University of Maine at Machias, and is expected to return a strong vote for Ron Paul.

But now it appears that other precincts throughout the state – including those that actually voted on the February 11 Caucus date – were also not included. In particular, Waldo County – the mid-coast county where this blogger’s family owned a camp for four generations – was almost entirely left out from the total vote counts.

The city of Belfast, a working-class city of 6,600 people at the head of the Penobscot Bay, and next-door Searsport, a similar port of 2,600, turned in “0 votes” according to the final tabulation just released by the state Republican Party, even though both places held caucuses on the 11th. In all, 20 of the 26 Towns in Waldo County were omitted from the announced vote totals. Suspicion of a stolen election is growing, as some of the Waldo County towns with known returns delivered significant margins to Ron Paul: Paul defeated Romney by 16-3 in Montville, and 9-1 in Palermo.

And the “clerical oversight” wasn’t limited to Waldo County: in neighboring Kennebec County, the city of Waterville – a city of 15,000 residents with a poverty rate twice that of the state and not likely fertile ground for Mitt Romney – were not included in the state party’s official returns.

The Bangor Daily News, one of Maine's two statewide newspapers, reported yesterday that “Pressure is mounting on the Maine Republican Party to reconsider its weekend declaration that Mitt Romney won the state’s caucuses…”


In the meantime, in spite of all of their fancy screens and bells and whistles and election analysts - - -where have the major networks been on this story?

UPDATE:The Mainstream media continue to ignore it, but the Blogosphere has apparently forced Maine GOP Chairman Charlie's Webster's hand: GOP HQs emailed all party leaders today (Thursday, Feb 16) with this message: “County Chairman & Town Chairman [sic], We are reconfirming the totals from the Presidential Preference Straw poll. Can you please EMAIL ME the totals from your towns. For County Chairman [sic] if you are emailing the total for your entire county can you please list the towns that are included.” Read more at Politico

In addition, the Waldo County Republican Committee took a vote of no confidence and called for the censure of party chairman Charlie Webster.


Monday, January 16, 2012

On MLK Jr. Day: Republicans Seek to Suppress Voters

What’s a Republican to do?

As the South Carolina Primary approaches, Republican Presidential candidates are falling over themselves trying to prove that they are the most viciously anti-gay candidate. Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich have all signed the NOM Pledge to end Marriage Equality in any state that chooses it.

And yet, Gallup Polls report that “…a majority of Americans (53%) believe same-sex marriage should be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages.”

In August, at the Iowa State Fair Mitt Romney openly argued that “Corporations are People.” And yet, Hart Research Associates found that 87% of Democrats, 82% of Independents, and even 68% of Republicans support a constitutional amendment to eliminate “corporate personhood.’

The New York Times has found that the majority of Americans – including Republicans and those earning over $100,000 annually – support slashing Executive pay at companies receiving bailouts. Meanwhile, Republicans continue to mumble on about supporting free enterprise and opposing limits on pay.

At every campaign stop, the GOP candidates have promised to repeal “Obamacare;” and yet, the provision of that act that guarantees that individuals with preexisting conditions can be covered by insurance is supported by 63% of the American public, who agreed that insurers “absolutely must” cover such people in a recent Wall Street Journal poll.

With the Republican Party so completely out of touch with Americans on issues of health care, the economy, growing wealth disparity, corporatism, and social issues – how can they expect to win the 2012 Presidential election?

By suppressing voter participation.

Since the GOP can not win the majority of votes based on issues, they have turned to making it difficult – or impossible – for the most ‘contrary’ demographic groups to vote at all: racial minorities, the poor, the elderly, and college students. Since the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. devoted his life seeking the right to vote for all people, it seems appropriate on the holiday on which he is honored to expose these Republican efforts across the states.

Denise Lieberman, senior attorney with the civil rights organization, Advancement Project," stated:

“Heading into 2012, we are seeing the largest assault on the right to vote since the post-Reconstruction Era. This is an unprecedented attack on voting that could affect more than 5 million voters in 2012; in states that represent nearly two-thirds of the electoral votes needed to win the presidency. Twenty new laws and executive orders in 14 states stand to turn back the clock and make it harder to vote. In 2012, two-thirds of the states introduced legislation that could impede voters and more is on the horizon for 2012.”

The GOP Plan:

1) Require Government Issued Voter ID Cards with Photos

New in 2012, a non-expired, state-issued photo ID is needed in Alabama, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. In Texas, 34 counties lack the required “Department of Public Safety Offices” to issues the required IDs. Four of those counties have Hispanic populations greater than 75 percent.

Additional legislation has been filed in North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, Maine, Minnesota and Missouri. It is particularly hypocritical in New Hampshire, where Republicans fought against the federal “Real ID” photo/drivers license program, but voted to implement the same obstacle to suppress votes, a bill that was vetoed by the Governor. In defiance, election officials in the Town of New Boston, NH, posted a huge “Photo ID required” sign at the entrance to the polls last year, in spite of the fact that no such requirement exists.

Those who do not drive are the least likely to have such an ID: minorities, lower-income people, seniors who no longer drive, those with revoked licenses, and students (College ID cards are not valid). NYU Law School has estimated that up to 11% of all otherwise eligible voters – 21 million Americans - do not have the requisite ID.

In order to get an official ID, the poor have disproportionate hurdles to overcome: In addition to fees, individuals are asked to provide birth certificates, passports, or other documents. While many Americans have these, those who have been thrown out of their homes, women or young people who fled after having been involved in abusive situations, those who have lost their homes to foreclosure and have documents in storage units, those who have lost documents in fires in substandard housing, those living in nursing homes, and those lacking personal autos to run to government offices to obtain the documents – are far unlikely to be able to assemble the required documents in a timely fashion. In addition, Arizona, Alabama, Kansas and Tennessee now require proof of citizenship, a tactic meant to intimidate Hispanic and other naturalized citizens.

2) Restrict New Voter Registration Drives

Florida and Texas now have enacted strict time periods for these drives, and impose stiff fines for honest errors. Similar legislation is now pending in Michigan.

For those states that permit same-day registration, the GOP tactic is to turn back the clock. In recent years, the trend has been for states to make voting easier, not harder. Since most election boards are operated by local citizens, these citizens are able to provide a 'check’ on unlikely but potential fraudulent votes. But this year, that trend is being reversed: Ohio and Maine (a state with a long history of same-day registration) eliminated same-day registration. The same legislation is pending in North Carolina.

3) Ban Felons From Voting

If you are convicted of a felony in Kentucky and Virginia, you lose your right to vote for life. In Florida and Iowa the Republican Governors have tried to emulate this by issuing Executive Orders eliminating the rights of former felons to regain their right to vote. 48 states (all except Maine and Vermont) prohibit felons from voting while in prison. This sets up a dangerous process: all a state must do is find someone guilty of a felony, and they lose a major avenue to challenge the very laws and policies under which they convicted.

In the United States, 5.3 million people are unable to vote due to a felony conviction. At least one-quarter of these convictions were for non-violent drug offenses, crimes for which black men are twelve times more likely to be convicted and jailed with a felony record than their white counterparts. There are more black men in prison today than there were black men enslaved in 1850 (source). The War on Drugs has been the single most effective tool at disenfranchising black voters.

4) Ban College Students from Voting

In 1979, the US Supreme Court ruled in The United States vs. Symm that college students may vote in the communities where they attend school. That decision states, "there is no requirement that a student, in order to establish that he is a resident of the place where he wishes to vote, establish that he intends to remain there permanently or for any particular period of time."

In the "swing state' of New Hampshire, College students often represent 15% or more of the vote in college Towns such as Keene (Keene State College), Hanover (Dartmouth), and Durham (UNH). Bill O’Brien, the Republican speaker of the New Hampshire State House, told a Tea Party group earlier this year that students are “foolish” and tend to “vote their feelings, voting as a liberal, because that’s what kids do.” In the statehouse, he shepherded new laws to prohibit students from voting from their college addresses, in direct violation of the Symm decision. In Wisconsin the state declared College-issued photos invalid, forcing college students wishing to vote to scramble to apply for new drivers licenses (requiring them to then re-register their autos, and obtain new inspections) – all at great expense – to vote.

In Selma, Alabama, in 1965, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King told marchers,

"Voting is the foundation stone for political action…The basic elements so vital to Negro advancement can only be achieved by seeking redress from government at local, state and Federal levels. To do this, the vote is essential."

Yes, the vote is essential... and Republican efforts to disenfranchise voters is antithetical to the America I was raised to believe in.


Monday, January 02, 2012

Why Iowa IS Relevant

Are the Iowa caucuses “relevant?”

Yes. Perhaps now more than ever.

In the interminable weeks and marathon of debates leading up to tomorrow’s Iowa caucuses, pundits and media gurus have been raising the question as to whether the Iowa caucuses will be relevant “if they turn out wrong.” There is no doubt that Iowa Republicans are more likely to reflect agricultural interests and Evangelical Christian fervor than the rest of the nation; but over the last 30 years, the Republican Iowa caucuses have been an accurate snapshot of political temperament in America.

First, it has accurately reflected the mood of the national Republican Party.

In 1980, George H. W. Bush (32%) and Ronald Reagan (30%) virtually tied; libertarian-oriented Congressman Phil Crane took an additional 7% of the vote. The caucuses almost pre-ordained a Reagan-Bush ticket, and foreshadowed a growing conservative-libertarian bloc within the GOP.

In 1988 (Reagan was unopposed for his second term in 1984), the winner was Bob Dole(37%); televangelist Pat Robertson took second with 24%, and George H. W. Bush limped in at third place with 19%. Once again, Iowa taught an important lesson: while George H.W. Bush went on to win the nomination and the election against Democrat Mike Dukakis (in a record-low turnout year), Iowa signaled that Bush was headed for trouble, and would be limited to a one-term Presidency. At the same time, Robertson’s second place finish indicated the growing power of the religious right within the GOP.

In 1996, the winner was Bob Dole with 26%. He went on to win the Republican nomination that year.

In 2000, George W. Bush won with 41%. He went on to win the Republican nomination that year.

In 2008, Mike Huckabee won with 34% of the vote. This win reflected the continuing strength of social conservatives and the religious right in the GOP. The eventual winner of the nomination that year – John McCain – drew only 13% of the vote. His lackluster performance in Iowa found its fullest expression in the general election, when he was defeated by Barack Obama, losing formerly “safe” GOP states like North Carolina, Indiana, and Virginia. Interestingly, Mitt Romney took second place in Iowa that year (25%), foreshadowing his own strength this year.

Second, as a “swing state,’ it has been a bellwether in the national election.

Iowa has voted for the winning candidate in the general election in four out of five of the last Presidential elections, and 7 out of the last 10 Presidential elections. In other words, in recent years, it has become even more predictive of the national outcome. One can point to its racial makeup or economic base as 'unrepresentative,' but the objective facts are that Iowans laregly have their finger on the pulse of elections, rather than simply being a "red state" or a "blue state."

But lastly, the current ‘winnowing process’ that has resulted in a virtual three-way race between Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and a late-surging Rick Santorum, is an accurate reflection of the current makeup – and divisions – within the Republican Party.

On Jan 23, 2011 – just about a year ago – we published an analysis
of the tripartheid nature of the Republican Party as reflected in elections for leadership with the state of New Hampshire Republican Party. We wrote,

In the wake of yesterday's election of Jack Kimball over Juliana Bergeron as New Hampshire State Republican Chair, many news articles have attempted to present this as a battle between "two sides." And in America, we tend to simply battles into just two sides: Republicans vs. Democrats, Packers vs. Bears, Yankees vs. Red Sox, Toby Keith vs. The Dixie Chicks. But the reality behind the scenes is that the state GOP can be divided into at least three different factions, and the direction the party - and the State - will take is a function of how those coalitions come together - or fall apart - on individual issues.

In brief, the three main factions are The Establishment Yankees, The Theocrats, and the Libertarians

Nowhere have three factions become as starkly clear as in Iowa in the last week.

Mitt Romney is the clear establishment favorite: The son of former Michigan Governor George W. Romney, he holds a joint Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard. He was the co-founder and head of Bain Capital, a highly profitable private equity investment firm. With the possible exception of Jon Huntsman, Romney represents the Republican Establishment Blue-Blood tradition.

Ron Paul, a twelve-term Congressman from Texas, is perhaps the single most recognizable voice in the libertarian wing of the GOP. Consistently voicing libertarian positions, Paul often votes against his Republican colleagues on issues involving civil liberties, militarism, and spending. In 1988, he ran for President on the Libertarian Party ticket; He was one of only 66 Congressmen (out of 435) to oppose the original Patriot Act, and one of 26 Republicans to oppose its extension this past year. A veteran, he alone among the Republicans has opposed sanctions on Iran and has called for significant slashing of America’s international military budget.

Rick Santorum represents the clearest and most extreme personification of theocracy in the United States. A strident evangelical Christian, Santorum is actively seeking to galvanize Iowa’s Pat Roberston voters as he openly campaigns on behalf of a “Christian America,” vowing this past week to invalidate all same-sex marriage that have already taken place, and winning endorsements from Bob Vander Plaats, Chief Executive of the Family Leader, and Chuck Hurley, President of the Iowa Family Policy Centre. In an overture to the Second-Coming crowd, he vowed a direct military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

In the last week, the media have used the words “irrelevant,” “overhyped,” and “unrepresentative” in describing Iowa and it’s voters. They have used all sorts of facts and figures about race and religion to try and prove their point. They also question what an unexpected (or “undesirable”) outcome could mean.

But in spite of their nay-saying, the three front-runners - Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum – are an entirely accurate representation of the elements of the current schizoid Republican Party, and the results of the Iowa caucuses for the last thirty years have been highly predictive of the American political mood.

Iowa *is* relevant.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Carl Paladino, New Yorks Clown Candidate

Once upon a time, New York State elected some of the most well-known Republicans in the country: Theodore Roosevelt, Nelson Rockefeller, Jacob Javits, and in NYC, Mayors John Lindsay and Fiorello Laguardia. Love 'em or hate 'em, it was a competitive party. Today, of New York's 11.6 million registered voters, only 25% remain as registered Republicans. In the September 14 primary, Carl Paladino took won the Republican primary for Governor...more an indication of the nutjobs that are left in what remains of the NY Republican Party than any indication of actual statewide support.

Mr. Paladino has been running a campaign hot on anger and rhetoric, touring the state with his pitbull to show how 'tough' he is. And recently, he opened his mouth and showed yet again what a lunatic he is.

Pandering to a group of Orthodox Hassidim, he read from a prepared statement and stated that children should not be made to think that being gay is a "valid or successful option." He reiterated that he didn't want children exposed to gays. He opposed the 'gay agenda' (What would that be? Paying their mortgage? Shopping for groceries? Getting their kids to school on time?)

This, from a man who seeks to be Governor of a State where a young gay man just jumped off the George Washington Bridge to escape humiliation as a gay man. This, from a man who seeks to be the Governor of a state where a man was just brutally beaten, cut, whipped, burned on his nipples and genitals, and sodomized with a baseball bat by a gang of 8 in an abandoned building in the Bronx.

This, from the man who would seek to govern a state that is home to Broadway and Musical Theater. Nope, no successful homosexuals in these parts. Nope. No success at all evidenced by Ed Koch, Anderson Cooper, Montgomery Clift, Sam Shepard, Ellen DeGeneres, Eton John, Ian McKellan, Nathan Lane, Barry Manilow, Sir Cameron MacKintosh, or a cavalcade of gay powerhouses in the Arts.

Of course, today Paladino is backtracking a little, saying that he would be willing to hire gays. How benevolent. I guess he has to say that, because Art Finkelstein, who was the polling and strategic mastermind behind Republican Al D'Amato's successful Senate campaign and a host of Nassau County Republican campaigns, and who continues to work for GOP candidates around the country - is gay.

I have watched in amazement as I have followed Paldino's eccentric, anger-filled campaign...until I found out who one of his key strategists is.

Roger Stone. Ah. Or should I say, "Jason Ranier."

I was personally acquainted with Roger. He ran for President of the Young Republican National Federation in the late 70's, when I was intimately involved in that organization. Roger was a pro-Nixon fanatic, who took on the alias "Jason Ranier" to conduct his filthy campaign maneuvers. To stop a primary victory against Nixon by Rep Peter McCloskey (R-CA), he went to New Hampshire, created a fake organization called the "Young Socialist Alliance," and then donated money to McCloskey from the organization. He then turned around and wrote a letter to the Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader describing the contribution, enclosing a receipt from the McCloskey campaign. The publication of the "Socialist-McCloskey" alliance effectively ended McCloskey's chances in New Hampshire.

Thus began a life of political operations that used lies, mud-slinging, spying, hate, and division to win elections at any cost. And here he turns up again, as Paladino's puppeteer.

In the meantime, Paladino bounces erratically from tirade to tirade, lashing out at all enemies real and imagined, and gays are his latest target. Never mind that people are committing suicide, and being killed and tortured in his own state because of inflammatory rhetoric and ferment whipped up by ravings such as his (Early in the campaign he promised to 'bring a baseball bat to Albany,' and he didn't mean he wanted to play ball....)

In an election year when Republicans expect to make gains in many places, New York Republicans had better take a long hard look at who they are. They once were a competitive party in a diverse, strong Empire State.

They are now a vestige and a laughingstock, and have left millions of ex-Republicans with no place to go.

Want to help respond to Paladino's nonsense? Contact Freedom To Marry, and help them purchase ad time with the NY media: Click on the title of this post, or go to:

Friday, September 24, 2010

Libertarians say Republicans owe apology, not 'pledge,' to America:

Instead of a "Pledge to America," the Republicans should have written an "Apology to America." It should have gone something like this:

"We're sorry, America. Sorry we grew the federal government budget from $1.7 trillion to over $3 trillion. Sorry we added $5 trillion to the federal debt. Sorry we doubled the size of the Department of Education. Sorry we started two incredibly costly foreign wars. Sorry we supported the absurd and costly TARP bailouts. Sorry we created a huge and costly new Medicare entitlement. Sorry we did nothing to end the costly and destructive War on Drugs. Sorry we did nothing to reform the federal government's near-prohibition on immigration. But hey, at least we helped you by shifting a lot of your tax burden onto your children and grandchildren."

There are so many lies, distortions, hypocrisies, and idiocy in this document that it's hard to know where to start.

It is deeply insulting to see the Republicans refer to "America's founding values" on their cover. The Republican Party has no understanding whatsoever of America's founding values. They have proven and re-proven that for decades.

The document talks a lot about "tax cuts." Unfortunately, the Republican "tax cut" proposals would really do nothing to cut taxes. All their proposals achieve is to defer taxes, pushing the burden onto our children and grandchildren. The only real way to cut taxes is to cut government spending, and the Republican document does almost nothing in that regard.

The Republicans say they want to "roll back government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels." In other words, to re-create the situation near the end of the Bush administration, after Republicans had massively increased federal spending on almost everything.

Republicans must love it when Democrats expand government, because it gives them the opportunity to propose small "cuts," while still ending up with huge government.

One shocking aspect of the document is that it actually includes subtle Republican proposals to increase government spending.

The Republicans offer no plan whatsoever to reduce military spending, America's foreign wars and nation building, or our military defense of rich foriegn nations. On the contrary, the Republicans apparently want to increase military spending, promising to "provide the resources, authority, and support our deployed military requires, fully fund missile defense, and enforce sanctions against Iran."

The Republicans also appear to want to increase government spending on border control. They say "We will ensure that the Border Patrol has the tools and authorities to establish operational control at the border," a costly proposition.

Furthermore, as expected, the document complains about "massive Medicare cuts," implying that Republicans want to make sure Medicare is kept gigantic.

The bulk of federal spending is in three places: Social Security, Medicare, and the military. The Republicans propose absolutely nothing to reduce spending on these three things, or even to slow down their growth.

There must be a typo in the document where it says "Undeterred by dismal results, Washington Democrats continue to double-down on their job-killing policies." That probably should read "Washington Democrats continue to double-down on *Republican* job-killing policies."

The best way to restore American prosperity would be to implement the straightforward 28 planks of the Libertarian Party platform, or even just follow the Constitution. I mean the actual Constitution, not the Republican re-write that allows for every federal government program imaginable.

I suppose the one positive aspect of the document is that it finally dispels any illusion that Republicans want to shrink government in any meaningful way.

Apparently the Republicans are hoping they can "fool some of the people all of the time." The Libertarian Party is ready to point out Republican lies and hypocrisy to American voters, and we hope that Americans who actually want small and constitutional government, not just hypocrisy and worthless rhetoric, will vote Libertarian this November.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Republican? Democrat? Libertarian? Man Without a Party....

I believe in "Liberty, and Justice, for All." YOU decide to what Political Party I truly belong...

That Racism, Sexism, and Homophobia have no rightful place in American Society. That who I marry is my business, and no one elses; and the only state role should be that of a 'recorder,' not a definer, of legal relationships.

That the United States must never, ever, under any circumstances, torture suspected terrorists or engage in the same tactics that they do.

That immigration has been a source of constant strenth, genius, and rejuvenation of the American Ideal, and that English is no more sacrosanct than any other language.

That no one should be prosecuted or jailed for a "crime" where there is no victim. That marijuana should not just be decriminalised, but legalized.

That America is held captive to the taboos of a Puritanical past. Public breast Feeding, nude sunbathing, consensual sexual activity between adults, and polyamorous and homosexual relationships are just as valid as any other consentual human expression of love, life and caring, and should not be criminalized or stigmatized.

That if I choose to smoke cigarettes, gamble on a sports event, wear a helmet when I ride my bike or wear seatbelts when I drive, it is MY business, and no one elses.

That I have a right to bear firearms and defend myself, my property, and others without anyone's permission.

That my right to Free Speech, Freedom of the Press, Freedom of Assembly and Association, Right Against self-incrimination, and Freedom of Religion are INVIOLABLE. That there *is* an implied Right to Privacy in the US Constitution, and that ALL federal rights must be guaranteed by the States as well.

That we are a Federal Republic, not a Democracy. That the Federal Government must not usurp the rights reserved to the States, and that neither the federal nor state governments may usurp the rights reserved to individuals.

That I have a right to order my own property my own way, without neighbors deciding how high my house should be, whether my mom can live in an adjacent apartment, whether I can fix cars in my garage or whether my dumpster should be allowed to be in "public view."

That I have the right to choose the best educational format for my child, whether in public, private, or a home education setting, without second-guessing by bureaucrats and other vested interests.

That I have the right to join a union if I choose, or to negotiate my own compensation if I choose.

That no one has a right to tell me how to run my business, what to pay my employees, what to offer for sale, or how much to charge.

That it *is* appropriate for government to provide for a common defense, maintain roads and essential services, and to charge me for the benefits I receive.

That it *is* appropriate for society to help those in medical, housing, or other distress, with a view towards helping them achieve independence where possible and on-going assistance where necessary.

That individuals should be encouraged and assisted in the achievement of their own independence and security wherever possible.

That whether you are black, white, asian, Native American, Latino, or mixed race; Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Atheist or of another faith; hetero, homo, bi, or asexual; male, female, transgender or hermaphriditic; native-born or immigrant; employed, unemployed, retired, or disabled; English, Spanish, French, Lakhota, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Chinese, German, or Portuguese-speaking: if you are HERE and you are HUMAN, then you have a right to your life, liberty, property, and pursuit of happiness.

That *NO ONE* - no government official, no clergyman, no law, no insurance company, no FDA or federal agency - has a right to stand between a physician and their patient in matters of medical treatment.

That voluntary business transactions between willing individuals should not be obstructed by government. That freedom and liberty requires the free movement of capital, products, and labor across state and international borders.

That pollution of the environment that results in an act of toxic trespass against all is an appropriate subject of government regulation.

That Police Officers are the servants, not the Superiors, of the citizenry.

That the military must be subject to, and not independent of, the Civil Authorities in all matters.

That the primary goals of a criminal justice system should be restitution for the Victim and reform of the criminal, not vengeance or punishment.

That wherever possible, taxes and fees should be realistically tied to the costs that my actions are incurring, and earmarked for appropriate remedial uses.

That since businesses retain profits when successful, they must never transfer losses to the public, and that bailouts, subsidies, and corporate grants are immoral transfers of wealth.

That Government Deficit Spending likewise effectuates a transfer of wealth from citizens to wealthy bondholders who lend funds to the US Government, and is therefore opporessive, regressive, and confiscatory by design.

I love America so much that I cry when reading the The New Colossus, singing the Star Spangled Banner, or watching the US Olympian Team...but also know we have a lot of growing up to do, and yes, we can even learn from more mature nations like France, England, and Germany.

So....Am I a Republican? Democrat? Libertarian? Independent? Loonie? Plain ol' frustrated American?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Dede Scozzafava: A Pragmatic - and GOOD - Choice for New Yorks 23rd CD.

It's true: Dede Scozzafava, the Republican candidate in northern NY's special Congressional election, doesn't toe the Right-Wing line on a number of issues. Staunchly pro-2nd amendment, she is also pro-abortion rights (consistent with the Supreme Court) and pro-Marriage Equality. My God, she almost sounds Golderwateresque!

But wait, there's more: her husband is a union organizer, and she has very tight ties with union leaders. Her district, along the Canadian border, contains a significantly higher proportion of union workers (and trade concerns) than most districts in the US, and so yes, she tends to side with labor on a number of issues. Hmmm...sounds rather Jack Kempesque, too....which isn't surprising, considering that her district is the remotest, most economically hardest-hit district in New York.

Sarah Palin has opened her mouth in endorsing rival Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, and Minnesota's Gov. Pawlenty is leaning in that direction. One has to wonder what these two know, if anything, about the 23rd District, and why they are sticking their noses into a New York race.

Even Newt Ginrich has weighed in for Scozzafava, saying

"I just think it is a mistake for the conservative movement to think splitting in the special election is a smart idea. If we give that seat to the Democrats, shame on us.”

He continued: “She has signed a no tax increase pledge. She is endorsed by the National Rifle Association. She has come out against cap and trade… She is opposed to the Obama health care plan. She will vote for John Boehner instead of Nancy Pelosi. All of those things together make her – it seems to me – a legitimate, authentic, Republican nominee.”

Republicans who do not support her are sending a clear message about their onw Rule-or-Ruin attitude: they would rather support the Conservative Party candidate who will lose, but enable unyielding ideologues feel warm and fuzzy at the purity of their vote.

When, oh when will the Republican Party cut off the Right-Wing tail that keeps wagging its dog?

[Disclaimer: I was a Conservative Party State Committeeman from the 5th CD of NY 1986-1988]

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Arlen Specter: the Real Lesson

Yesterday, Penn. Senator Arlen Specter annouced that he was switching from the Republican to the Democratic Party, and the political spin-doctors have been working overtime on what this means.

Michael Steele, Chair of the GOP, wrote in an email, "I hope Arlen Specter's party change outrages you. …He told us all to go jump in the lake today." He further referred to Specters "left-wing voting record" and alluded to Benedict Arnold.

Actually, the allusion to Benedict Arnold may be apt. Arnold was a patriot who fought for the colonies in a number of campaigns, and who switched sides only after coming to believe that the Colonies cause was doomed. In Specter's case, he has seen that the GOP has already lost. Or, to use McCain strategist Steven Schmidt's words, "The Republican Party is virtually extinct in the Northeast."

Specter was no liberal. He was a center-right moderate, who rarely received an extreme 0% or 100% voting record from any interest group. But those who do not toe the Theocratic Party line in the GOP are regularly rounded up as heretics, and Specter was simply going to be their latest victim.

Those who criticize him point to the fact that this was based on political expediency, since there has been a sfift of 200,000 voters from Republican to Democrat in Pennsylvania.

But apparently, they miss the point in revealing that very statistic.

One Republican who understands the current crisis in the GOP is Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, one of the last remaining Republican office-holders in New England. In today's New York Times, she writes,

"In my view, the political environment that has made it inhospitable for a moderate Republican in Pennsylvania is a microcosm of a deeper, more pervasive problem that places our party in jeopardy nationwide.

There is no plausible scenario under which Republicans can grow into a majority while shrinking our ideological confines and continuing to retract into a regional party. Ideological purity is not the ticket back to the promised land of governing majorities — indeed, it was when we began to emphasize social issues to the detriment of some of our basic tenets as a party that we encountered an electoral backlash.

It is for this reason that we should heed the words of President Ronald Reagan, who urged, “We should emphasize the things that unite us and make these the only ‘litmus test’ of what constitutes a Republican: our belief in restraining government spending, pro-growth policies, tax reduction, sound national defense, and maximum individual liberty.” He continued, “As to the other issues that draw on the deep springs of morality and emotion, let us decide that we can disagree among ourselves as Republicans and tolerate the disagreement.”

Oh, that the GOP in New Hampshire and Maine - and nationally - would listen to those words.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Civil War in the Republican Party: Liberty vs Theocracy....Restoring the Party of Goldwater and Reagan

Finally, after the worst electoral drubbing in 34 years, the GOP is re-examining its strategy of pandering to Dixiecrats and Theocrats. Basic civil rights - and the right of people to live their own lives - is finally finding its voice within the Republican Party.

From Christine Todd Whitman, former GOP Governor of New Jersey:

"The government should have no say about marriage, and the plank in the Republican Party platform that calls for preserving marriage between a man and a woman should be scrapped...Furthermore, the U.S. military should not differentiate between homosexuals and heterosexuals...I am somebody who believes in the separation of church and state and that the government, frankly, ought to be out of the business of marriage entirely...I just think it would make the issue easier if it was civil marriage for everybody...[Bloggers note: apparently Whitman reads this blog]’s [same-sex marriage] not going to threaten my marriage. I mean my 35th anniversary is on Monday. It’s not going to threaten my marriage to have a gay couple married....We can't succeed nationally as a party that only has 31 percent of the American people behind it.”

And concerning the military: “I don't care if he is straight, I care if he can shoot straight.”

And, from Meghan McCain (John McCain's daughter):

"Tonight I am proud to join you in challenging the mold and the notion of what being a Republican means...I am concerned about the environment. I love to wear black. I think government is best when it stays out of people's lives and business as much as possible. I love punk rock. I believe in a strong national defense. I have a tattoo. I believe government should always be efficient and accountable. I have lots of gay friends, and yes, I am a Republican....Most of the old school Republicans are scared shitless of that future...There are those who think we can win the White House and Congress back by being “more” conservative..."

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Cheshire Co., New Hampshire Republicans offer opinions on the GOP's direction

This afternoon, Republicans in Cheshire County, NH were invited to an open meeting in Keene to voice their opinions about the future of the Republican Party. To be sure, there were many opinions.

Jennifer Horn, last year's unsuccessful candidate for Congress, served as the MC. Those who attended were quickly divided into groups to discuss issues such as voter outreach, party logistics, ranking issues by importance, media relations, etc. Oddly, attendees were not invited to join the work sessions of their choice, but were assigned topics haphazardly depending on their seats. Your truly, of course, defied the established order and participated in two groups: Voter Outreach and Issues. At the end of the hour or so meeting, summations were offered, and some short general discussion ensued.

The results were mixed, I think. Some members clearly understood the need to be technologicaly adept. Others were stuck in the 1950s, believing that phone trees were important, and that telling College students that Republicans supported Civil Rights in the 60s (over 40 years ago!) would somehow win them over...

I spoke up, of course. I believe that the Republican Party needs to do some real soul-searching. Unfortunately, the Elephants appear to be terrified of The Elephant in the Room: the stranglehold on the party by Religious Conservatives.

In spite of Jennifer Horn's stated belief that the GOP does not need to rebrand itself, she is terribly, terribly wrong.

An entire generation of new voters came to the polls believing that the Bush administration and Rush Limbaugh represent Republican ideals. Republicans spent eight years defending sickening deficits, exploding budgets, and “big-government” programs that they would have railed against had they been proposed by a Democratic Administration. We were inexcusably silent as America, the great hope of the world, became represented by images of torture and Guantanamo Bay. Republicans should have been outraged…but instead, we defended “our guy” in the white house, and earned the public’s disdain. They grew tired of the Bush administration’s vision of America.

The GOP must articulate in clear terms positive, pro-active solutions for the problems and concerns that the American people have. Access to health care and secure retirement provisions are national concerns: We cannot simply be ‘against’ universal health care or social security, we must present clear, pragmatic, appealing alternatives.

As these proposals are formulated, we must be careful not to fall prey to the idea that we must choose to side with either the “moderates” or the “conservatives” within the Party. A lukewarm, “me-too” version of the Democrats is not a solution, but neither is cliché-ridden pandering to a shrill religious right. Rather, Republicans must forge a new path, a path that is consistent with both the Republican philosophy and the American spirit, and which resonates with voters of all stripes: we must combine fiscal conservatism and responsibility with social tolerance and liberalism. The Republican Party claims to be the party of small government and maximum personal freedom. It’s about time we reclaimed that heritage in a consistent manner.

As we present our alternatives, we must eradicate the mean-spiritedness, the innuendos, the mud-slinging, and the anger from our speech. We must offer vision, hope, and a future to all. If we want young people, minorities, and immigrants in the party, then we need to really want them, not just tolerate them and accept their contributions.

At the gathering, numerous snide remarks were made about the 'liberal media,' lawyers, teachers, and liberals in general. "Immigration" - a complete non-issue to anybody in Cheshire County, New Hampshire - somehow emerged as an important 'issue' to address. At my table, one religious conservative insisted that gay marriage and abortion were leading us to Socialism (I can't even begin to explain the twisted logic here...) On a positive note, I would say the majority at my table was tired of being the reloigious rights bludgeon.

I stated openly that we need to stop blaming immigrants, young people, gays, and the 'liberal media' for our problems, and was cut off by Horn, who insisted that the party does not 'blame' those groups for anything. And yet, that appears to be more of a political 'talking position' (the media was present) than the reality, as understood by the millions of Independents - and Republicans - who abandonned the GOP in the last election.

To be sure, there was a definite contingency present who agreed enthusiastically with me. We will not go away. But it will be a long hard fight - a fight that the GOP leadership seems very, very eager to avoid at all costs. But if they do not address it, one of those costs will be their own electoral success.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Republican Party - Which Way Now?

The Republican Party – my party – has just been delivered a well-earned knockout punch. Reliable “red” States in the west and south have been taken by Democrats. Here in New England, there is not a single Republican Congressman and only one Governor left. And in New Hampshire, once a Yankee Republican bastion, you can count on the fingers of one hand the number of state or federal Republican figures left.

Republicans did not lose simply because of large numbers of young people and African-Americans voted. In fact, as a percentage of the total electorate, African-Americans and young people made up almost precisely the same percentage of the electorate as they did four years ago. No, Republicans lost because average Americans from all walks of life, especially self-described moderates and independents, and even some lifelong Republicans, turned to the Democrats.

Where did the GOP go wrong? And what must we do to rebuild?

The party needs a clear philosophy and vision. An entire generation of new voters came to the polls believing that the Bush administration represented Republican ideals. Republicans spent eight years defending sickening deficits, exploding budgets, and “big-government” programs that they would have railed against had they been proposed by a Democratic Administration. We were inexcusably silent as America, the great hope of the world, became represented by images of torture and Guantanamo Bay. Republicans should have been outraged…but instead, we defended “our guy” in the white house, and earned the public’s disdain. They grew tired of the Bush administration’s vision of America.

We must articulate in clear terms positive, pro-active solutions for the problems and concerns that the American people have. Access to health care and secure retirement provisions are national concerns: We cannot simply be ‘against’ universal health care or social security, we must present clear, pragmatic, appealing alternatives.

As these proposals are formulated, we must be careful not to fall prey to the idea that we must choose to side with either the “moderates” or the “conservatives” within the Party. A lukewarm, “me-too” version of the Democrats is not a solution, but neither is cliché-ridden pandering to a shrill religious right. Rather, Republicans must forge a new path, a path that is consistent with both the Republican philosophy and the American spirit, and which resonates with voters of all stripes: we must combine fiscal responsibility and social tolerance. The Republican Party claims to be the party of small government and maximum personal freedom. It’s about time we reclaimed that heritage in a consistent manner.

As we present our alternatives, we must eradicate the mean-spiritedness, the innuendos, the mud-slinging, and the anger from our speech. We must offer vision, hope, and a future to all. If we want young people, minorities, and immigrants in the party, then we need to really want them, not just tolerate them and accept their contributions.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan articulated a clear vision, and spoke in positive terms of hope and freedom for all. Americans responded, as disaffected Democrats and independents swelled Republican ranks. In 2008, Barack Obama rode to victory on those Reaganesque concepts. It should serve as a wake-up call to the party to reclaim its heritage of individual liberty and prosperity for all, delivered with clarity and compassion.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

There is an old bit of prose about how the Nazis came for the Jews, the Gypsies, gays, the handicapped, etc., and when they finally came for 'me,' there was no left to help me.

I have been vigilant in this blog about pointing out the eradication of free speech and civil liberties in this country. Earlier this year, 400 children were kidnapped by the government in Texas, and the 'outcry' was little more than ho-hum. After all, they were polygamists, so "it doesnt affect me."

Well, right now, in Minnesota, hours before the Republican convention, there is a wholesale trashing of the Constitution taking place. Will anyone care? Or does it not concern people because the victims are young, protesting, liberal college students?

The full, breaking, and constantly-updated story (with video) can be found at

But the crux of the matter is this: 25-30 officers, in riot gears, stormed houses, forced residents to the floor, confiscated computers, and handcuffed and detained people for 'fire code violations,' all because they had planned to protest the Republican National Convention. Using an obscure, never-used law against conspiracy to start a riot, the government has found an effective law that basically preempts any protest or speech it doesnt want to hear.

Is this Beijing? Tiannamen Square? Does anyone remember the Chicago Police Riots of the 1969 Democratic Convention? The Kent State debacle? Have we learned nothing?

I call on McCain, as the Republican candidate, to forcefully condemn what is happening in Minnesota.

NOW, Today. And I call on my fellow citizens to stop yawning, since it isn't 'them' being carried away.

Monday, January 07, 2008

How Ron Paul blew it in New Hampshire

I will vote for Ron Paul on Primary day here in New Hampshire. I have been a Ron Paul fan for a very long time. But he and his supporters have snatched defeat out of what could have been a stunning showing, and its a shame.

The Republican Party has lost its principles and its soul. The GOP used to be the party of low taxes, fiscal responsibility, states rights, and a small-is-better philosophy when it came to the federal government. The Bush Empire has turned all that on its head, running up fantastic deficits, enacting Steel Tariffs, imposing No Child Left Behind on the states, and strengthening the power of the federal government to unprecedented levels through the Patriot Act and related provisions. Surely, somewhere, some Republican must be willing to stand up and declare that the Good Guys have actually morphed into the Evil Empire. For his entire career, Ron Paul has stood squarely in the true liberty-loving tradition of the Republican Party. And for that reason, I will cast my vote for Ron Paul in the Primary.

He has raised mind-blowing amounts of cash on the internet, drawing on the passion of the younger generation that tends to live on the net. But his numbers are not catching on much past the 10% mark in polls, even here in libertarian New Hampshire. Why is that?

Its not because of a media blackout. It's not because of a conspiracy against him.

It's because with all the issues he could have chosen to seize on, he chose the wrong ones: Immigration and The Federal Reserve System.

Someone needs to inform the political operatives that no one here in New Hampshire cares much about immigration. It's a virtual non-issue. New Hampshire is about as far from Mexico as you can get and still be on American soil. The immigrants who do arrive are by and large French-Canadian, and have been part of the New Hampshire social fabric for several hundred years. Further, all of the Republican candidiates are tripping over themselves trying to be the most mean-spirited, anti-immigration candidate...and no one here cares. Worse, Ron Paul is unable to differentiate himself from the pack on this issue. And even more troublesome, is that his position represents a retreat from the libertarian notion of greater freedom and less government.

Worse still is the near obsession that Dr.Paul and his followers have surrounding the Gold Standard and the Federal Reserve System. Dr. Paul has called for the abolition of the federal Reserve and a return to the gold standard. The more I hear him talk about this issue, the more convinced I become that he truly does not understand what he is talking about:

Dr. Paul has staked out this position because of the deblitating effect that inflation has on household savings. And he is correct: inflation destroys savings and value. What he doesnt seem to understand is that the United States has not seen high inflation in generations, and that is due largely to the effectiveness of the Federal Reserve Bank.

Every industrialized nation in the world has a "Central Bank." Most third world countries do NOT. Nations with these central banks experience low inflation (rarely double digits). In fact, the US inflation rate has been a mere 2% to 5% over the last few decades. (The seventies were an exception). Meanwhile, third-world nations without a central bank regularly experience inflation of 30%, 80%, 100%, or more.

The Role of the Federal Reserve System is to control inflation. They have done it, admirably. Authority for the System lies in the Constitution's clause giving the Federal Government the right to coin money.

The falling value of the US Dollar (which Dr. Paul has lamented) has been GOOD for New Hampshire: it means that the Chinese, and the Europeans, and next-door Canadians can now afford to purchase US goods, helping the manufacturing, retail, and tourism sectors upon which the New Hampshire economy is based. Ron Paul's lament about the falling value of the US Dollar carries little weight here: Retailers saw more Canadians crossing the border to buy US goods than ever before, *because* of the falling US Dollar.

And no one gives a crap about the Federal Reserve except college-aged idealists. Yup, that's right. Here in New Hampshire, people are concerned with fuel oil prices, health insurance, social security and pensions, jobs, and taxes.

Ron Paul could speak powerfully to Granite Staters about issues that are important to them. Instead, he has been sidetracked by non-issues.

And as a result, pragmatic New Hampshire voters will select John McCain (who is *not* seeking to be THE anti-immigration candidate), and who's frank talk about REAL issues resonates well with this state.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sen. Larry Craig and the Real Crime...

OK, so Senator Larry Craig, a long-time conservative politician and family man from Idaho, was caught and pleaded guilty to a most chilling crime:

He tapped his foot in a mens room stall.

Well, OK, it was probably a signal to see if the guy in the next stall was interested in giving or getting a blowjob. As far as I know, no patron was scandalized, no one's money was swiped, no one is bleeding, no one was hurt, no one was in any way impacted by it. But the howl from the media and politicians on both the left and right have to make one stop and pause.

Here, to me, are the real crimes:

That a man who is innately homosexual must spend his life deeply closeted and hiding it.

That society can so quickly turn on a man who's sexuality is 'different.'

That a man grows up loathing himself, ashamed of himself, and struggles his whole life. That he is reduced to furtive, secretive trysts that only drive him deeper into shame and dangerous sex.

That Republicans can be so self-righteous and hypocritical (conservative leadership, PR men, and pundits have always been rife with homsexuals at the highest levels) as to turn so quickly. That they can be so beholden to an ignorant and shrill right-wing base that they will shoot their wounded and never examine their own consciences.

That liberals will stand by and gloat, because 'he's not one of us.'

That gays will join in the blood-letting, because revenge is so much more exciting than teachable moments.

And lastly, that Larry will swear to his dying day that he is 'not gay," (or worse, that he's been 'cured), because he just can't accept himself.

The longer the closet door stays shut, the more the suffering will go on.

The sooner we put on army boots and smash that damn door to splinters, the easier it becomes for the next person to live the life they are meant to live without daily fear and anxiety.

The best reason to come out, Larry? To make sure the kids in the next generation dont live through the hell you have.