Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ballot Access News » Blog Archive » Congress Adjourns Without Passing Bill Restricting Partisan Activities of Secretaries of State

"Congress adjourned on December 22 without having passed HR512, the bill to prohibit the chief Election Officer of any state from taking an active part in the campaign of any candidates for federal office."

Federal Election Integrity Act of 2010 - Amends the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to make it unlawful for a chief state election administration official to take active part in political management or in a political campaign with respect to any election for federal office over which the official has supervisory authority.  This bill's message was a no-brainer as an ethical principle, in that it avoided the chief election administration official's conflict of interest of supporting a candidate he had professional authority over.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Gavel Grab » Group: Public Financing Boosts NC Judicial Diversity

"A public financing program for appeals court candidates in North Carolina has helped increase diversity of judges and reduce the role of special-interest money in elections, an election reform group reports."

North Carolina has taken small steps towards wider public financing in their state's races; now, it's time to  publicly finance many more.  America must realize our democracy's potential for reform for the common good.  The present outlaw principles of selfishness and greed, lived by our two-party politics, have no place in our democratic republic.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Let the Distortions Begin |

"Potential Republican presidential aspirants are off and running, jockeying for exposure on the airwaves and before audiences in key primary states. We have been keeping track, and have noticed some twisting of the truth – already! (We know, you’re shocked.)"

It's remarkable that this very serious fact-checking organization is so glib with its initial cynicism of our 2012 presidential candidates' races.  Indeed, scrambles out of the campaign season gates early with hard facts to overturn very public statements made by some leading Republican candidates.  I've got a suggestion for our candidates for highest office of the land: be humble and honest before the people-- you'll find it to have the most integrity and lasting value.


The Year in Sunlight: 2010 - Sunlight Foundation

"As we wind down the year, I want to take this moment to thank all of you wholeheartedly for your interest and support of Sunlight’s work in 2010. This has been a tremendous year for Sunlight and for government transparency."

Year after year, the Sunlight Foundation has been the fastest growing and most aggressive government reform NGO in Washington.  2010 was no exception, even as signs of continued government secrecy, carried over from the Bush years, has reared its ugly head.  Congrats, Sunlight, and don't forget to spread the wealth of government transparency and Gov2.0 reform opportunities as you see them take shape.


Lawmakers seek cash during key votes

"Numerous times this year, members of Congress have held fundraisers and collected big checks while they are taking critical steps to write new laws, despite warnings that such actions could create ethics problems. The campaign donations often came from contributors with major stakes riding on the lawmakers' actions."

Well, it looks like our government reform researchers are getting much closer to political money's smallest known particle.  It is very difficult for our elected representatives to wave off or deny actions that are so bare and to the point as this.  Nothing short of a bucket of paint thrown at a legislator is any closer to the ugly sight of corruption.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Ulsterman Report: Obama Justice Department Rocked by Investigation Findings : South Capitol Street

"the New Black Panther voter intimidation case from 2008 appears to strongly indicate a cover up initiated by figures within the Obama Department of Justice, and quite possibly the White House itself."

Race is very subtle politically in the U.S.  It always lies just below the surface, but it is a major effect on attitudes, policy and society.  Until our legislators acknowledge this, we will be kept in the dark.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Repeal the 17th Amendment: Democratizing the Constitution: The Failure of the Seventeenth Amendment

"If there was once cause for concern in the muckraking stories of industrial tycoons and railroad barons buying Senate influence through contributions to the state legislators, then the largess of lobbyists and activists that is today handed openly and directly to Senate candidates (overwhelmingly in favor of incumbents) should be a cause for outright alarm."

The democratic integrity of our republic calls for open and fair elections at all levels of government.  By repealing the constitutional amendment mandating a popular vote for U.S. Senator and instead having state legislatures elect them, may be our most open and fair democracy.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Time for Sacrifice | CommonBlog

"we ought now to undertake an intergenerational dialogue on how to get present and future Americans out of the soup [national debt crisis]. For that we need leaders with superior access to the facts to start tutoring us, not only with facts, but proposals for sacrifices that can address the facts.

Sure, this request has the feel of political poison for most elected leaders. I want to tell them: Hey guys, we are not sissies out here. As Christmas approaches, neither are we all Scrooges who want to shut our windows against the cries of the poor, the jobless, the war-wounded, and our grandchildren. We know that personal goods and our common good are now in need of some serious negotiations, that our country deserves some sacrifices from all of us. Well, what sacrifices? It’s time, guys, for you all to start making some painful proposals. Believe in us enough to believe that we can take the pain."

A heart-felt appeal to our beloved rascals in Washington, DC to show some leadership on our long-term fiscal situation and show how we, the people, can help.  I believe most concerned Americans feel the same way.


Political Heat: Campaign finance reform preserves your right to be heard

"Under a model of campaign finance reform, spending limits ensure that everyone's voice is treated equally, that no one's ideas are treated better or worse based on their class or level of income. Political rights, including the right to express your beliefs and opinions, should transcend forces that require a person to have a leg-up on everyone else within society to really matter.

A good idea is a good idea, whether it comes from Wall Street or Main Street. Don't let conservative beliefs on 'free speech' ruin YOUR right to speak your mind, destroy your right to be heard. Campaign finance reform enables everyone to have an equal voice in our elections."

This is from a simple to understand, straight-forward argument for spending limits on candidate campaigns.  I don't see how any patriotic citizen of this great country can't agree whole-heartedly with anything but this.


Poli-Tea: Alabama Congressman Calls for Formation of Independent Party

"For the hundreds of thousands of Alabamians who believe our state is capable of fundamentally changing the way we govern ourselves and the way we educate our children, and who desire a politics that is not anchored to special interest groups, there is a powerful case for an independent movement in time for the 2014 elections.This movement, which would recruit and sustain candidates in targeted statewide and legislative races, has the potential to advance Alabama in ways that are impossible under the constraints of partisan politics."

A political party confined to a single state has much greater chances for success than a new party with national aspirations.  There are already long-standing single-state minor parties in other states, such as the New York Independence Party, the New York Conservative Party, the Minnesota Independence Party and the West Virginia Mountain Party.  And history has shown that a serious Independent presidential candidate has pursued and won the endorsement of single-state parties, such as Ralph Nader in election year 2004.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Ballot Access News » Blog Archive » Article Summarizes Final Results of Legislative Elections Across the Nation

"Tim Storey has this comprehensive summary of the results of state legislative elections, including a map that shows which major party controls each state’s legislature. Unfortunately, the article does not mention that independents or minor party members were elected to state legislatures in ten states this year."

Of course, all state legislatures consist of representatives and senators. Most of the independent and minor party winning candidates are in states with electoral laws that are much more democratic than other states.


Gavel Grab » Our Judicial Backlog, Through a British Lens

"The backlog of vacancies in the federal judiciary is serious enough to have grabbed the attention of a British current affairs magazine, The Economist."

The president is supposed to submit for confirmation to the senate nominees for federal justice. Unfortunately, vacancies in these offices remain due to inaction in the senate; political games by stakeholders should have no place in this constitutional mandate.


No Surprise: The Natural Gas Revolving Door | Center for Media and Democracy

"Some Appointees to Oil and Gas Commission Are Industry Execs, Lobbyists"

One of the purposes of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission is to serve, hands-off, as a third party objective. It would be corrupt if its subjects had authority within it.


Thursday, December 09, 2010

“Needless Brouhaha” Over Registering New Citizens to Vote in Texas | Project Vote Blog

"A new Texas county registrar and alleged Tea Party sympathizer recently raised some eyebrows over his effort to halt voter registration at naturalization ceremonies over alleged rule violations, a move that the local League of Women Voters called “ill-considered” since the practice has helped more than 60,000 newly eligible citizens register to vote over the last four years."

So, this traditional practice was against the rules. If this tradition has been successful a substantial amount of years without complaint, it should be allowed to continue.


US military is the latest filibuster victim | CommonBlog

"The annual defense bill is bursting with provisions governing the way our troops live and work at home and around the world. It authorizes pay raises, health care for military members and families, the purchase of new weapons and equipment and thousands of other things large and small. It’s where rhetoric about our national commitment to “support our troops,” meets reality.

The bill typically passes by an overwhelming majority; nobody wants to vote against the troops after all. But today, a minority of senators unwilling to discuss just one of part of the bill – a proposal to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law and let gay Americans serve openly – used the filibuster to block consideration of the entire $726 billion package."

There’s something rotten about such power grabs; it should not be tolerated in a democratic society. I believe most Americans concur; unfortunately, the culture wars led by our own congress members trumps that reality.


Professor James K. Galbraith Advocates that Liberals Break with the Democratic Party

"On November 20, Professor James K. Galbraith spoke to an Americans for Democratic Action event in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and suggested that supporters of Keynesian economics should no longer support the Democratic Party, and should instead create a new party. See this for the text of his speech.

Galbraith is an Economics Professor at the University of Texas, and also a vice-president of ADA. He is the son of John Kenneth Galbraith."
~ Ballot Access News

The United States should have a Proportional Representation (PR) electoral system; it allows multiple political parties representation (legislators) for each district based on their respective shares of the district's vote.