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Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Simple Idea for Libertarians and Progressives

Here's a rather simple and probably uncontroversial idea:

Two members of congress, perhaps the two best members of congress, will not be there next year. They have both run for president. They are friends. They come from different parts of the country. They are both principled and driven by big ideas. They have opposed one another on legislative issues and they have co-sponsored bills together.

I think they ought to go on tour together over the next 4 years and host a series of conferences bringing together both libertarian and progressive thinkers, strategists, politicians, and activists to discuss, debate and create policy and to hear proposals for reforming and reclaiming our government and our economy from the corporate military industrial catastrophe and all of its crony cousins and their neocon and blue dog hacks in congress and the White House.

I am, of course,talking about Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich.

How about somebody (or bodies) with more pull than I getting this idea up the ladder? Maybe make it a viral request.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

RP Campaign's 3 Biggest Mistakes

Ron Paul's campaign will end on August 30 and it will be viewed as a template for future underdog candidates. His delegate strategy has taught young people much about how the process works and by bringing them into that process, he has laid a foundation for this same young people to rise up the ranks of political power.

More importantly, this campaign has demonstrated one man's moral courage. When I first heard Ron Paul answer a question in a 1988 Republican presidential debate, I was totally stunned. The moderator conveyed a question from an audience member asking the candidates, "What is the most important moral issue facing America today." Everybody knows the answer at a Republican debate: It's either abortion or traditional marriage and family breakdown.

Ron Paul was offered the first opportunity to answer. Without hesitation he answers,"The abandonment of the Christian theory of just war." I can't remember if I was drinking tea, coke or water but I lost it all over the floor. This guy just told a room full of warmongers to go to hell.

I had never heard anything so courageous and true come out of any politicians mouth. His willingness to stand up to the establishment in his own party on a central plank in their platform is unprecedented. What he said  would be like a Democrat answering the same question by saying "The lack of reverence for human life from conception to natural death."

Paul has also shown his wisdom, compassion and moral integrity in his transition plan. Rather than be the libertarian purists his followers imagine him to be by saying let's write everybody a check for what they've paid into the entitlement system and end it, he refuses to advocate even slightly cutting such benefits for those who have paid into the system and will be dependent upon it. He wanted to give young people the opportunity to opt out of the program and pay for their non contributions to support seniors by shifting half of the funds saved from the militarism spending departments to pay for the shortfall.

Would that his campaign had seized on this spirit and the specific proposal which modeled how to bring progressives on board even if it needed a slight tweaking in light of political realities and opportunities.

While there is much more to be said in favor of Paul and his campaign there were significant missteps and missed opportunities. Here are the 3 biggest:

1.) A caucus/delegate strategy that never tried to win a a primary: The delegate strategy with early selective focus on caucus states was essential; however, there was no serious attempt to actually win one primary state. He could have focused on SC, and later there was absolutely no excuse for not moving hard into Virginia. One victory in either of these states would have radically changed the course of this nomination process.

2.) Refusal to deal swiftly, boldly and thoroughly with the race issue: His campaign should have gotten him a stage in SC to do a major speech on racial justice and then followed that up with a series of interviews with African American media personalities. He could have appealed to the African American community and urged them to crossover and vote to send a message to the president not to take them for granted by doing nothing about discrimination in the judicial and penal system especially in regard to drug offenses. A victory in SC thanks to military support and African American Democrats would have been tsunamic.

3.) Unwillingness to promise a real coalition government with progressives and run a campaign aimed at bringing progressives on board: From the get go, he should have promised a coalition government with a Democratic running mate. Oh sure he would have further alienated people who would never vote for him in the first place but he would have sent panic running up the spines of every establishment Republican and Democrat. A compromise on economic issues which advanced his agenda to cut taxes, reduced government spending and debt, and shifted power back to the states would have galvanized millions across the political spectrum.

It is sad that these mistakes cost him the election but perhaps the lessons learned will benefit the next underdog candidate who wants to do what's right and wise.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Response to fd



fd, thanks for your thoughtful responses. I obviously need to clarify a few things. But first let me ask you this political question. I would agree that the Obama and Bush administration along with their parties in congress and most of the policy made there has been violent. Would you agree also that a coalition of progressives like Bernie Sanders or Dennis Kucinich with with Ron Paul or Gary Johnson regardless of who is at the top of the ticket would be less violent in policy and practice than an Obama 2 or a Romney 1 administration?

I think you would answer yes to that question but let me know if I am wrong. I will add a comment and you can tell me if you disagree with this as well: a libertarian/progressive coalition ticket stands a better chance of winning the White House than does either an exclusively libertarian or an exclusively progressive ticket does.

Not to be overly presumptuous but I am guessing you would agree on that political calculus as well. It is obvious to me that the biggest obstacle to this sort of coalition is economic policy. It has been one of my main purposes to try in this blog to bridge that gap as far as is realistically possible. If some sort of (temporary) bridge is not built across the economic policy divide, we will continue in our current state of political estrangement from one another and the offices of congress and presidency.

So far I think you are with me on these assumptions and assessments. Now let me attempt to answer your questions and show you how I believe the compromise policies I have outlined in this post and explained in greater detail in earlier posts would build this bridge.

I am not opposed to eliminating corporations partly or completely and perhaps incorporation as a legal means is unnecessary for businesses to function. I would be interested in hearing more about what you mean by corporation and corporatism and how we might eliminate them.

As for the non aggression principle, I would need to know more about what you mean. As a Christian I am influenced by both the peace tradition and the just war tradition. I am not sure that I can say definitively I am fully convinced by either but at the very least I believe that God desires us to act in peaceful ways and to not impose our wills upon others especially when those others have not attempted to impose their wills upon us.

I can see circumstances where unrequested intervention would be morally righteous. For example, if I see a person about to be hit by a car and I am able, I could tackle that person and maybe even injure them in the process causing that person to be angry at me but doing justice to that person by protecting him from imminent death or greater bodily harm.

I am not sure why you consider tariffs to be acts of violence as a opposed to legal acts of sovereign nations. I know many libertarians hate taxes and consider taxes in general an act of violence. Do you hold this view in regard to all taxes? If not what type of taxes are acceptable? I'm not sure you if you read this post: http://progressivesforronpaul.blogspot.com/2011/11/libertarianprogressive-coalition-tax.html

My main question on this subject is: Wouldn't you think that a proposal that lowers taxes below their current Bush/Obama levels for at least 90% of the population while raising taxes slightly on not more than 2% of the population would be better than keeping taxes as they are now? For example let's say we doubled the exemption and had 3 income brackets of 10, 20 and 30 percent with a 10% tax on annual consumption above 1 million dollars. This would lower the income tax rates on all people without imposing more taxes on savings and investment income.

I am sure that would not be ideal in your mind but I hope you would be honest and acknowledge that it would actually lower the tax burden for 99% of the population and not penalize millionaires for making investments and saving money, thus supplying the capital necessary to create jobs.

You wouldn't be so stubborn as to refuse a deal like that when such a refusal keeps us in the current tax situation? Or would you prefer to wait another 12 years for there to be 60 libertarian Republicans in the Senate to create your ideal tax policy? (I of course think 12 years is a pipe dream fro progressives or libertarians to gain such exclusive political power.)

As for what to do with new revenue and savings from reduced spending. When I say half of it would go to debt reduction, I am saying those funds are no longer available for spending unless it is used to pay down federal debt more quickly (which our creditors do not want us to do).

When I propose sending the other half to the states, I am talking about a temporary measure which can be ended after 4 years or renewed for another 4 years or phased out over a mutually agreed time frame. It does not reduce debt of course but it does move money out of Washington and allows the states to do with it as they please. Some states may pass it along in the form of tax breaks. Some states may use it for infrastructure and education projects. Some states may use it for a variety of purposes.

What we do here is essentially set up a grand experiment to find out what works best for creating long term good paying jobs. Perhaps Texas will prove all of us progressives wrong and you will have your complete victory as we are totally discredited and humiliated by our failed policy. Surely, you are not afraid that your team will be on the losing end. The bottom line on this is it is a decentralizing move which we progressives will accept and if you libertarians cooperate with us more at the local level you might get the federal government whittled down to the constitutional level you desire.

I hope you can see that there is specific content in what I am proposing which advances both libertarian and progressive economic agendas simultaneously. If you look back at other posts you'll find other proposals which aim to do the same.

The big question we progressives and you libertarians need to answer is: Can we do better together in the political world we live in than we can sitting separately on the sidelines while corporatists rule the roost? And let's face it, if what we have in common now (sans economic policy) failed to bring us together, we will never get together at all. Come on fd...don't you want to win with a partner who agrees to let your agenda move forward so it can stand a fighting chance of showing its virtue? Please say you agree! We can have our non aggressive ideological fight after we kick the corporate crones out.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Farewell Message to Americans Elect


Farewell Message to Americans Elect
I am not certain why AE did not work. I had hoped that this was a real grassroots effort to do something different. I read all sorts of skeptical reports and comments about the motives of those who created AE.

Did they create it only to find that those who were interested did not share their agendas and thus did not promote the candidates they wanted? Were there saboteurs from without or within who wanted to kill this idea who succeeded?

I had these worries as I continued the process. I supported candidates who were declared and undeclared, known politicians and unknown or little known ordinary Americans, insiders and outsiders, Democrats, Republicans, independents and third party candidates, all with the hope that someone would emerge who would garner enough supporters for this to work.

I wanted it to work because I, like so many Americans, am fed up with the petty bickering of tribal operatives, talking heads and hired hacks of the right, left and center, stirring us into a froth of anger and confusion so that their smoke and mirrors, bait and switch, divide and conquer, prefabricated, lowest common denominator policies designed to keep the already opulent permanently powerful at the expense of the well meaning, hopelessly hopeful, numbered nobodies like me and millions of other Americans.

I just wanted to be heard for real, for the ideas and aspirations of creative and visionary people of goodwill to get concrete, substantive, breakthrough, trans-partisan proposals into a real, unscripted office of the US presidency. And maybe, with a president who truly is the elected leader of the people rather than the corporate gofer of grandiose greed, we could change this nation into a land of peaceful and prosperous people with realistic opportunities to live wholesome lives free from debt and job insecurity.

I tell myself I should not be surprised, that I should have seen this coming from miles and months away. I should have known not to waste one hour, let alone the 40 or 60 that I did sending and answering questions in an echo chamber only at the end to have some cyber security (whether necessary or not, hostile or benign, I was unequipped and unqualified to tell) somebody or something say to me,"Let me see your ID?" I wanted to open up my laptop and say, "You show me yours first."

That should have done it. I was relieved to see the first caucus delayed while, I, who am no Prince Hamlet, contemplated which form of ID I would choose, or whether maybe there was some kind of glitch in the system that would be fixed and allow these cyber spirits to find out I was really who I claimed to be. I even thought about giving away another 5 bucks I owed to the bank to see if that might jump-start the engine of electoral accountability.

I must admit I felt a confused  twinge of relief when, in some message I read some prosaic words that sounded like the spirits of AE had passed away. It was not overly ambiguous when it meekly admitted the vision's failure. In gratitude they have departed. Surely what information they have gleaned about me and thousands of  others will be used for good purposes. Surely, in some less than perfect way one of my ideas will float to the top and pop out in a policy proposal one day. Maybe someday a yet unborn grandchild will say, "That idea that simplified the tax code, eliminated the waste, decreased the debt and fully funded the building of the peaceful green economy... that was my granddaddy's.

Oh no...it's 4:30am...; been at this for an hour and a half. Better copy and paste to my secure file thingy just in case I have been typing into a closed archive. I blow a kiss goodbye to ... oh wait I can't login to my account anymore...maybe I can remember most of you....Bernie Sanders, Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, Gary Johnson, Rocky Anderson, Buddy Roemer, Jill Stein, Michealene Risley, Laurence Kotlikoff and a few others I fail to remember.

Farewell to all those pseudonymed saints and sinners, faceless fellow country folk and city spirits I don't know how to contact personally if I had the time. Maybe someday your and my words will be unearth by a cyber archeologist and published in a virtual footnote of some subset file of an arcane journal of cultural anthropology.

May the piece that passes as understanding guard your identity, value your participation, and use your resources for the building up of whatever beast slouches toward Bethlehem to be born.

Yours Always,
@#$%^!:(

PS If after I hit enter, this does go through, I can still maintain intellectual property rights...or is that still copyright? ...     Yoohoo....I have a question...anybody there...? anybody?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

August 30, 2012... RIP Libertarian Cause


This question is for the realist who are on board with Paul's real goal: to influence and eventually change the GOP. With everybody out of the race but Paul and Romney, and with crossover vote slowed to a halt, we can safely say that Ron Paul has 15% ceiling among Republicans. Obviously the hard work to secure delegates will pay off, but by how much? We know he will not win 1144 delegates.

At the GOP convention he might in combination with Gingrich and Santorum delegates prevent Romney from winning on the first ballot and thus get his real totals on the second vote even though Romney is almost certain to secure the nomination on the second vote.

I predict he will win 30% of the delegates. I think that is a respectable number, but will all the unrealistic supporters who still think he can win feel they were betrayed because there never was a strategy in place to win the presidency?

Of course there is also an additional problem with the exclusive delegate strategy. Next time around it will be mimicked and supplemented by neo-cons and cultural conservatives. That means the popular vote becomes a bigger cause next time around, especially without the aid of crossover voters and the likelihood that the 2016 primary (assuming Romney loses) will see two libertarian candidates dilute that constituency.

August 30 will be a sad day when all of Paul's supporters realize that a huge opportunity to advance the libertarian agenda by putting Ron Paul in the White House is lost. It's even more depressing to realize that the actuarial tables will not allow a take over of the GOP before 2024.

Can you imagine 12 more years of corporate crony rule? Oh let's not have any fantasies about a collapse being what America needs to convert everybody to libertarian. Such a collapse will find as many libertarians as progressives on the wrong end of the firing squad. If you believe otherwise, ....

Friday, May 18, 2012

2014 2016 Way to Win



I continue to look ahead to 2014 and 2016. While I have been critical of Ron Paul's delegate strategy, I do because it is the only trick in his bag. It's not a bad trick. It would be better trick in the context of coalition candidacy. The delegate strategy is attractive because it is based on the realistic assessment that we are stuck with a two party system. I don't like it but gaining influence within one of the two established parties is the only real way to political power in America.

The delegate strategy is also attractive because it puts grassroots activists in position of power where they can influence future campaigns and gain the needed experience to become viable candidates themselves. (Yes I could have made a good defense of the delegate strategy earlier but there never was a request from the campaign or any serious consideration of the coalition idea I was advocating.) How can we continue the delegate strategy, even expand it the next time around while finally building the coalition we need to win any politically significant office?

First we can, as I advocated earlier, comb the congressional districts to determine whether a libertarian or a progressive stands the best chance of being elected. Progressives and libertarians from both parties as well as the LP and  the GP need to stop diluting the vote and endorse candidates in the two major parties primaries and in the general elections.

Professionals with more knowledge than I can make the determination as to which district is more likely to lean one direction or another. My guess is target open seats occupied by neocons and blue dogs. If the district is majority Republican focus on electing the libertarian. A progressive in the Democratic primary could make waves for a few weeks and then drop out and endorse the libertarian to promote crossover voting. Of course, reverse the roles in heavily Democratic districts.

I think that both progressives and libertarians need to do more outreach to cultural conservatives. My main suggestion to both of them is: GET YOUR ASSES BACK IN CHURCH! Cultural conservatives are being raped and pillaged by corporatists. A little more sympathy and a little less derision could go a long way. More specifically, I suggest a Bible study on the topic of jubilee to spark connections among these three ideologies. More generally, both libertarians and progressives need to get back to their roots if they are going to regain the liturgical  language and messianic motivation they need to combat the corporate anti-Christ.

Building these connections is essential to gain the numbers necessary to implement the dual delegate and coalition strategy. Here's how that works:

Scenario 1 assumes Obama's re-election: In the presidential primaries we need to find two progressives and two libertarians to run for president, the former as Democrats and the latter as Republicans. They need to be teammates in the debates while pretending to be rivals. This is the key to getting more time in the debates: ignore your true opponents while disagreeing by name on minor points with your ally. Both pairs of allies should stay in the primary through Super Tuesday. At that point one progressive and one libertarian should drop out. For now, I believe that the candidates who are getting the most votes among each pair should be the drop outs.

The two drop out candidates should then immediately file to run as an independent candidacy in all states unless the Green and Libertarian parties agree to nominate the two as a coalition ticket endorsed by both parties. This coalition pair should hit the campaign trail vowing to drop out if one of the major parties would nominate one of their other coup partners.

Scenario 1A: Corporate Republicans and Democrats manage to do what they do so well by convincing the rank and file to reject the progressive and libertarian candidates. The two inside candidates lead a delegate strategy all the way to the conventions, aiming to put their corporate oppressors to a multi vote open or brokered conventions. After the chaos ends with wounded corporatist candidates, the two delegate insider candidates endorse the independent outsiders.

Scenario 1B Democrats and/or Republicans see the light and nominate one or both of our insiders. In this case our independent (or third party) candidates end their campaign. If both parties see the light, we have a real campaign between progressive Democrats and libertarian Republicans but look for the corporatists to mount a write-in  or independent campaign.

If only one of the two major parties see the light, that inside candidate should reach out to other party by choosing one of our co-conspirators as the Vice Presidential running mate.

This all sounds a bit complicated but it is rather simple: share power until you bring down your opponent. Isolate them before they isolate you. And win.




Extraordinary Progressive Seeking a Suitor

I am still trying to make up my mind, now that this election is certain to not involve Ron Paul, who I should vote for. The Libertarians have decided to go sectarian instead of coalition and the Greens are likely to do the same. I would like to caste protest vote this year and since we do not have a coalition candidacy, I am leaning toward Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson. If Americans Elect ends up nominating a coalition (and by that I do not mean a moderately conservative Democrat and a conservative Republican), I may cast my vote in that direction. So far there has yet to be even one candidate qualified and my guess is Americans Elect will not nominate anyone this year.

Since I have been supportive of Ron Paul, why not Gary Johnson? Mainly because Johnson is not indicating he might cut a deal with progressives on economic issues. Governor, I have a plan that can get you 3 times the votes you are anticipating, if you are interested. (I wonder if Ron Paul or any of his staff or anyone of significance, a media personality or a Washington politician has ever read one single post I have written? If you have, please let me know. If I get what I expect, crickets, it is more evidence that ordinary citizens have zero influence on our elections and government. It would be nice to be proven wrong about this.)

With sectarian libertarianism as the alternative, I would prefer to turn to Anderson and Stein. (If they or Johnson wish to contact me, I am here.) However, if Ron Paul condemns Obama and makes nice with Romney, I'll take that to mean he is endorsing him and will force me, since I live in a swing state, to vote for Obama again. He would not raise military sending as much as Romney would. And he would do a better job at protecting what remains of domestic discretionary spending and entitlements. I do not want to vote for Obama but Ron Paul, failing to endorse Johnson,  will force me to make this lesser evil choice.

I guess I could vote for Romney to punish the Democrats for betraying their base but I fear Romney will stimulate the economy with a war against Iran along with a war in Latin America. Obama might choose the same course but my guess is he'll try to do an Ike by promoting green energy through the pentagon budget and air and ground transportation and port modernization through the homeland security budget.

The choices are depressing. Maybe there is someone to cheer me up. Gary? Jill? Rocky? Any of you want to come a courting? I am cheap. Just a little attention could get you this headline: "Ron Paul's Leading Progressive Supporter Endorses...." I think I have at least earned the adjective for this rare constituency.

Monday, May 14, 2012

"This the way the world ends..."

As the cause to elect Ron Paul comes to an end, I must determine who to endorse in the general election. Americans Elect may hold Ron Paul's last opportunity to change his mind but my thought is Ron Paul does not want AE and AE does not want Ron Paul. It's too bad because if Paul were to accept AE's endorsement he would have to choose a Democratic running mate. Why his highly determined followers have not forced this opportunity by massively flooding AE the way they have done every internet poll of this campaign is beyond me.

I am considering advocating for Buddy Roemer and Rocky Anderson or if AE gives the nod to another corporate campaign or decides that there is not enough interest to run a candidate, I will probably choose between Rocky Anderson and Jill Stein.If Ron Paul's passive non-endorsement of anybody gets spun as an endorsement of Romney, I will be forced to vote for Obama.

I will probably have a few more posts on this blog. If there are any publishers out there truly interested in something outside the box, contact me here. Regardless, I will be announcing a new blog which will seek to develop this strategy and the all important policy consensus which is needed to beat the corporate beast. Look for that announcement to come soon.

I do not look forward to another 4 years of Republican obstructionism and Democratic acquiescence, but because tribalism trumps truth that is what we all must now face.

Peace.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Is Romney Trying to Censor Uncomfortable Questions

Hard to tell what the motivations are. Perhaps this is an Obama superpac idea for embarrassing Mitt Romney.or perhaps it is Romney's legal team trying to pre-empt reporters from asking tough questions:

http://toughquestionsformittromney.blogspot.com/2012/05/campaign-killing-questions-for-mitt.html