Tag: 2012 Elections

Obama Reelected: Now What?

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Now that Barack Obama has been given a second chance by the electorate, the question becomes what happens next. The “fiscal cliff” still looms, although it isn’t really a “cliff,” more like a slope. The government remains divided with the House still in the hands of fiscal conservatives and the Senate will remain crippled by a recalcitrant minority determined to block any reasonable effort at “compromise” by the Democratic majority and the White House to end the Bush/Obama tax cuts for the wealthiest.

The US markets reacted to the election this afternoon by plummeting to below 13,000 for the first time since August.

Stocks were sharply lower in afternoon trading in New York, with both the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index and the Dow Jones industrial average down 2.3 percent, as European shares sank and Asian stocks were mixed. While many executives on Wall Street and in other industries favored Mitt Romney, many had already factored in the likelihood of Mr. Obama winning a second term.

Still, continued divided government in Washington and little prospect for compromise unnerved traders. [..]

Companies in some sectors, like hospitals and technology, could see a short-term pop, said Tobias Levkovich, chief United States equity strategist with Citi. Other areas, like financial services as well as coal and mining, could be hurt as investors contemplate a tougher regulatory environment.

Fears of the fiscal impasse and the continued euro crisis were just some of the reasons but more than anything it was the failure of the GOP to take back the White House and Senate to secure the fraudsters fiefdom. It was fairly obvious from some headlines that Elizabeth Warren’s election to the Senate has Wall St. very upset: Wall Street Scourge Warren Entering U.S. Senate.

Democrat Elizabeth Warren, whose attacks on Wall Street propelled her ascent, will become the first female U.S. senator from Massachusetts, entering a divided chamber that had spurned her appointment as the nation’s consumer-protection chief.

I doubt they will be able to get rid of her as easily as they got rid of the “Sheriff of Wall St.,” former New York governor Elliot Spitzer.

I highly doubt that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and extremist Tea Party members are going to be any more cooperative with the White House and the Democratic majority in the Senate. In fact, it was already looking like they were digging immediately after the President’s victory speech with Mr. Boehner stating that the GOP’s retaining of the House majority meant that there was no mandate to raise taxes. Sen. McConnell echoed those sentiments telling the President that he shouldn’t consider the Democratic Senate wins as too much of a mandate.

To break at least the Senate deadlock, it is well past time to do something about the filibuster, which the Republicans have used in record numbers, over the last four years to block any progress for economic recovery the Democratic wins as too much of a mandate. During the campaign, Gov. Mitt Romney tried to revise history saying that Pres. Obama got everything he wanted and still failed

The argument obscures the important policy-making role Republicans had in the first two years of Obama’s presidency, when they used a record number of filibusters in the Senate to weaken – and in some cases thwart – large pieces of his agenda.

The $787 billion stimulus package in 2009, which was ultimately too small to fully reverse the economic downturn, had to be scaled down because a GOP filibuster required Democrats to win over 60 Senate votes for final passage. Repeated filibusters on health care reform ate up nearly a year of the Democrats’ legislative time, and Obama’s subsequent efforts to boost the economy were met with the same wall of Republican opposition – one that became insurmountable after the GOP’s congressional victories in 2010.

Progressives argue that the economy continues to struggle in part because Republicans have blocked Obama’s efforts, and advanced an agenda in 2011 and 2012 that effectively – if not intentionally – sabotaged the recovery.

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), who will likely remain majority leader, has vowed once again to address the problem of the filibuster

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pledged on Wednesday to change the rules of the Senate so that the minority party has fewer tools to obstruct legislative business.

In his first post-election press conference, the Nevada Democrat said he wouldn’t go so far as to eliminate the filibuster, which requires 60 votes for the chamber to enter and exit the amendment and debate process. But in remarks meant to preview a more combative approach during the next session, he warned Republicans that obstructionism as a tactic won’t be tolerated — or as technically feasible.

The problem is what Sen. Reid, who has stated that he supports filibuster, proposes does not go far enough:

“The first thing is the most important thing,” Reid said the interview. “Do away with motion to proceed. Just do away with it. I favor the filibuster. There’s a reason for the filibuster. I understand it. It’s to protect the rights of the minority. The Senate was set up to protect the rights of the minority … so that’s the no. 1 issue, and the rest of the stuff we can deal with if there’s a filibuster conducted. Those are the kind of things — if we get the motion to proceed out of the way, we can debate it, one, to cloture. That’s good. So that’s the no. 1 biggie.”

Even with Democrats set to control the Senate — indeed, even set to expand their current majority — the avenues for Reid to pursue rules reform aren’t entirely clear.

There has historically been some debate over whether the majority can change the Senate rules at the beginning of each term, or whether two-thirds support is needed, per the Senate rules. The question hinges on whether the Senate is a “continuing legislative body” or whether each new term marks a new Senate. Those who want to change the rules using a majority vote argue that past Senates cannot bind the hands of future legislative bodies.

Whatever the historical record, the basic fight comes down to numbers. No matter what the Senate chair rules, a majority can overrule the chair. However, that will likely be unnecessary, as Vice President Joe Biden is known to be a supporter of filibuster reform, and a believer that the constitution allows the majority to write new rules at the start of a term.

While some of the Republicans say they will reflect on their inability to achieve their goal, perhaps it’s time for the Democrats to do the same in the Senate and replace Harry Reid with someone who will stand up to Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and the Tea Party bullies.

 

The Last Debate

And you thought we were all done with debates. This is the last until about 2014. This debate was supposed to take place October 30 in Washington, DC but Super hurricane Sandy had other plans. It is the second of two debates that was sponsored by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation and it is between Green Party candidate source site Jill Stein and Libertarian Party candidate http://cmcpediatrics.com/?search=lasix-and-acetaminophen-side-effects Gary Johnson. They were the winners of an on line poll that was taken after the first debate on October 23 which included Justice Party candidate viagra price germany Rocky Anderson and Constitution Party candidate http://www.slccolorado.org/storage/proscar/ Virgil Goode.

The final debate was moderated by go here Tom Hartman, host of RT News‘ “Big Picture,” and http://docudharma.com/?search=find-discount-real-viagra Christina Tobin from the Free and Equal Elections Foundation.

You can read the summery of topics that the candidates debated here

Correcting America’s Democracy

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

We have other choices this Election Day. This is Chris Hedges’ choice and his rational explanation why he is not voting for either Obama or Romney.

Why I’m Voting Green

by Chris Hedges

The November election is not a battle between Republicans and Democrats. It is not a battle between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. It is a battle between the corporate state and us. And if we do not immediately engage in this battle we are finished, as climate scientists have made clear. I will defy corporate power in small and large ways. I will invest my energy now solely in acts of resistance, in civil disobedience and in defiance. Those who rebel are our only hope. And for this reason I will vote next month for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, although I could as easily vote for Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party. I will step outside the system. Voting for the “lesser evil”-or failing to vote at all-is part of the corporate agenda to crush what is left of our anemic democracy. And those who continue to participate in the vaudeville of a two-party process, who refuse to confront in every way possible the structures of corporate power, assure our mutual destruction.

All the major correctives to American democracy have come through movements and third parties that have operated outside the mainstream. Few achieved formal positions of power. These movements built enough momentum and popular support, always in the face of fierce opposition, to force the power elite to respond to their concerns. Such developments, along with the courage to defy the political charade in the voting booth, offer the only hope of saving us from Wall Street predators, the assault on the ecosystem by the fossil fuel industry, the rise of the security and surveillance state and the dramatic erosion of our civil liberties. [..]

The flimsy excuses used by liberals and progressives to support Obama, including the argument that we can’t let Romney appoint the next Supreme Court justices, ignore the imperative of building a movement as fast and as radical as possible as a counterweight to corporate power. The Supreme Court, no matter what its composition, will not save us from financial implosion and climate collapse. And Obama, whatever his proclivity on social issues, has provided ample evidence that he will not alter his servitude to the corporate state. For example, he has refused to provide assurance that he will not make cuts in basic social infrastructures. He has proposed raising the eligibility age for Medicare, a move that would leave millions without adequate health care in retirement. He has said he will reduce the cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security, thrusting vast numbers of seniors into poverty. Progressives’ call to vote for independents in “safe” states where it is certain the Democrats will win will do nothing to mitigate fossil fuel’s ravaging of the ecosystem, regulate and prosecute Wall Street or return to us our civil liberties.

“There is no state out there where either Obama or Romney offers a way out of here alive,” Stein said. “It’s up to us to create truly safe states, a safe nation, and a safe planet. Neither Obama nor Romney has a single exit strategy from the deadly crises we face.”

Is a Vote for a Third Party a Vote for Change?

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

A debate with four 3rd party candidates was held in Chicago October 23. The participants include former Salt Lake City mayor canada in levitra Rocky Anderson, former Virginia congressman http://community2community.info/?search=where-to-get-soft-viagra Virgil Goode, former New Mexico governor enter site Gary Johnson, and Green Party nominee source url Jill Stein, who ran against Romney in Massachusetts in 2002. It was first of two debates that feature candidates for president who were shut out by the Commission on Presidential Debates. A second debate will be held on October 30.

That debate was not carried by any of the major television or cable networks. It was carried live on C-Span, Al Jazeera English and live streamed on the internet. A post debate discussion was held by Al Jazeera English with Michael Moschella, @MikeMoschella, founder of New Leaders Council newleaderscouncil.org; Jason Brennan, Professor at Georgetown University, author of “The Ethics of Voting,” jasonfbrennan.com; and Kevin Gosztola, @kgosztola, Blogger, Firedoglake.com.

Polls show the US presidential election is a close contest. Yet a number of voters argue Obama and Romney are so similar that there’s no point in casting a ballot. Others say they will back a third party with no real chance of winning. By refusing to endorse Obama or Romney, could these citizens decide the next president and what would that mean? [..]

The Al Jazeera article has some interesting perspective on the impact of third party candidates on the electoral college with reliable links and comments from their readers. We will ask the same question Al Jazeera did:

What do you think? Are Americans who are voting for third-party candidates wasting their vote or changing the system? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Join us on October 30 at 9 PM EDT for the Live Stream of the Second Third Party Debate sponsored by Free and Equal Elections Foundation

The 3rd Obama – Romney Debate: Foreign Policy

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The third and final debate between President Barack Obama and his challenger, Governor Mitt Romney took place in Boca Raton, FL at Lynn University moderated by Bob Schieffer, host of CBS’s “Face the Nation.” The focus was on foreign policy with most of the questions centering on the unrest in the Middle East, the conflict in Afghanistan, the military and the war on terror. Many of the pundits and snap polls gave the “win” to Pres. Obama, who let loose with a few well placed “zingers” in response to Gov. Romney’s criticism of his foreign policy. The “horses and bayonets” quip countering Gov Romney’s criticism of the US Navy’s fleet strength. Here is some the more balanced analysis from the left who had as much to say about the Obama administration’s bungled foreign policy, as they did about the dubious future policies of a President Romney.

From David Dayen, FDL News Desk, article, We Don’t Have an American Foreign Policy Debate

While Mitt Romney hid behind Barack Obama and displayed about as much independent thought as a college student who didn’t cram enough the night before the test and spent the whole time looking at his neighbor’s paper, his neighbor Barack Obama reflected so strongly the smoldering wreck that is this nation’s foreign policy consensus.

It’s amazing that the Republican Party, once associated almost totally with a “strong national defense,” would give up so completely on foreign policy, to the extent that they have no identity whatsoever on the issue. Romney agreed with every Obama position but said the nation needed a “comprehensive strategy” to deal with the world, the equivalent of Gerald Ford’s “Whip Inflation Now” buttons, a signifier without anything behind it.

But it’s also amazing to me that anyone would call the Republican candidate Peacenik Mitt, since on the one area by which we wage war in the 21st-century world, Mitt agreed “completely” on the use of drones. That’s increasingly the only way America and the west fights wars these days. So agreement on drones means agreement on the war strategy for the world powers over the next several decades. [..]

When war policy gets reduced to “send flying robots overhead to strike,” eliciting no sacrifice on the part of the general population, it becomes much easier to make these calls, to sign off on interventions in Libya or Somalia or Yemen or Mali or wherever else. [..]

From Glenn Greenwald‘s comments during the live blog of the debate at The Guardian:

9.34pm: Both candidates are eager to ignore the topic of this debate – foreign policy – in order to talk about the economy because they perceive, accurately, that this is what most voters care about, and because they don’t really have much to disagree in the foreign policy area. And so they are now dispensing with any pretense and regurgitating their economics debate.

But US foreign policy actually does have a significant relationship to the economy- namely, the massive military, the constant aggression, war and occupation, the hundreds of military bases around the world all drain resources away from far more constructive purposes – but neither of these two candidates will dare to question any of those imperial premises, so they can’t actually address the prime economic impact of US foreign policy. [..]

10.22pm: A primary reason this debate is so awful is because DC media people like Bob Scheiffer have zero interest in challenging any policy that is embraced by both parties, and since most foreign policies are embraced by both parties, he has no interest in challenging most of the issues that are relevant: drones, sanctions, Israel, etc.

10.34pm: That was just a wretched debate, with almost no redeeming qualities. It was substance-free, boring, and suffuse with empty platitudes. Bob Scheiffer’s questions were even more vapid and predictably shallow than they normally are, and one often forgot that he was even there (which was the most pleasant part of the debate.)

The vast majority of the most consequential foreign policy matters (along with the world’s nations) were completely ignored in lieu of their same repetitive slogans on the economy. When they did get near foreign policy, it was to embrace the fundamentals of each other’s positions and, at most, bicker on the margin over campaign rhetoric.

Numerous foreign policy analysts, commentators and journalists published lists of foreign policy questions they wanted to hear asked and answered at this debate. Almost none was raised. In sum, it was a perfect microcosm of America’s political culture.

10.56pm: Echoing a common refrain of progressives, Andrew Sullivan after the debate says that Obama has “restored America’s moral standing in the world”. I suppose one can say that if one excludes the entire Muslim world from “the world”, as many do, because in that rather large and important part of the world, there has been no restoration of any kind. Quite the opposite. See, just as a beginning, here, here, here, and here.

From lambert‘s Mission elapsed time: T + 45 and counting* at Corrente:

Obama vs. Romney Round III. Recently, I’ve started taking the bus into town, so I can caffeinate myself and work on my laptop in a milieu that could make me feel like I lived in a city again, if I were able to suspend disbelief, which I can’t.

Point being that I take the last bus home, and the last bus here, like last buses everywhere, is filled with characters. A selection of characters I’m highly confident is drawn from populations that are under this or that form of supervison. Most exhibit detailed knowledge of pharmaceuticals, especially barbiturates. Their language is technical and official. They are expert in brands, dosages, arrests, trials, hearings, sentences, and treatment regimens. They trade tips. Most present well; they speak fluently and often, especially of compliance, recovery, and the disasters of others.

And heaven knows what they do when they get home.

So, tonight, listening to our affectless, sweating, droning candidates speak so fluently and present so well, I couldn’t but be reminded of junkies on the last bus. Because it really is about the next fix with these guys, isn’t it? It always is, with junk. Oil, money, power: Junk. Right in the imperial vein.

From Gary Younge‘s comment at The Guardian:

Obama fires and Romney falters but third debate fails to find a flourish

The president did better than an unconvincing Romney – but it’s difficult to imagine this debate changed minds or won hearts

If the world could vote on 6 November, Barack Obama would win by a landslide. A global poll for the BBC World Service revealed that 20 out of 21 countries preferred the president to his challenger. But when you watched the presidential debate on foreign policy on Monday night you had to wonder why. Not because Mitt Romney was better, but because on matters of policy, Obama was almost as bad. It takes a friend to reveal the harsh truth to the global community, so here it is: “Obama’s just not that into you.”

No one could love Israel more, care less about the Palestinians, put more pressure on Iran or be a greater fan of drone attacks or invading Libya. Both candidates agreed that America’s task was to spread freedom around the world: nobody mentioned Guantánamo Bay, Abu Ghraib or rendition. “Governor, you’re saying the same things as us, but you’d say them louder,” said Obama. It was a good line. The trouble was it condemned them both.

Charles Pierce, in his analysis at Esquire noted some significant glaring ommissions:

A discussion of foreign policy that did not mention climate change. (Four debates and nary a mention. Somebody else is going to have to tell the polar bears.) A discussion of foreign policy that mentioned teacher’s unions exactly as many times – once – as it mentioned the Palestinians, and I am not making that statistic up. A discussion of foreign policy that did not mention hunger, or thirst, or epidemic disease, but spent better than ten minutes on The Fking Deficit. (Here Romney cited in defense of his position that noted political economist, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.) A discussion of foreign policy that was all about threats, real and imagined, and wars, real or speculative, and weapons, and how many of them we should build in order to feel safe in this dangerous world.

There is no light between them.

Live Stream: 3rd Party candidates Debate

This is the first of two debates that feature candidates for president who were shut out by the Commission on Presidential Debates. A second debate will be held on October 30.

Third-party candidates set for US debate

Representatives of the Libertarian, Green, Constitution, and Justice parties to hold presidential debate in Chicago.

Four third-party candidates, who were not invited to the presidential debates between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, are to face other in Chicago.

Tuesday’s debate is hosted by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation, a group promoting a more open electoral process, and will be moderated by talk show host Larry King.

“It’s a two-party system, but not a two-party system by law,” King said. Obama and Romney were also invited, but declined to attend.

The participants include former Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson, former Virginia congressman Virgil Goode, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, and Green Party nominee Jill Stein, who ran against Romney in Massachusetts in 2002.

Since 1988, candidates have only been invited by the Commission on Presidential Debates to participate if polls find they have more than 15 per cent support.

So far, only one candidate has met that criterion, the billionaire Ross Perot, who debated Bill Clinton and George H W Bush in 1992.

Alternative presidential debates for third-party candidates have been held since 1996, but George Farah, author of No Debate: How the Republican and Democratic Parties Secretly Control the Presidential Debates, says he “[doesn’t] remember one getting this much attention, having Larry King moderate it.”

A second third-party match-up will be held on October 30.

Up date: C-Span will broadcast the debate live starting at 9 PM EDT.

Follow debate on Twitter #thirdpartydebate

Constitution Party Candidate: Virgil Goode

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The little noticed Constitution Party presidential candidate, Virgil Goode does not appear on many state ballots this November but where he does, it is believed he may have some impact on the electoral college outcome.

Virgil Hamlin Goode, Jr served in the US House of Representatives from 1997 to 2009, first as a Democrat, then an Independent and finally as a Republican. He was defeated after six terms in the 2008 election to Democrat Tom Perriello. Goode subsequently joined the Constitution Party.

The conservative Constitution Party was founded in 1991 as the U.S. Taxpayers’ Party by Howard Philips who was the party’s presidential candidate in 1992, 1996 and 2000. In 1999, the party changed its name to the “Constitution Party.” The party’s platform is predicated on the the original intent of the Founding Fathers, found mostly in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The party largely focuses on immigration calling for stricter penalties towards illegal immigrants, a moratorium on legal immigration until all federal subsidies to immigrants are discontinued and the unemployment rate is below 5%. The Constitution Party has some substantial support from the Christian Right and in 2010 achieved major party status in Colorado.

Goode is well known in Virginia and his candidacy has caused some concern among his former GOP friends and Virginia state party officials. Virginia is among the nine states where the 2012 election will be decided. If Goode swings enough conservative votes from Mitt Romney, it could give Virginia’s 13 electoral college vote to Barack Obama and another four years.

Recent polls show Obama about even or slightly ahead of Romney in head-to-head Virginia pairings by 4 to 8 percentage points. Only one, a Washington Post poll of 934 registered Virginia voters conducted Sept. 12-16, included Goode, and he was the choice of 2 percent. The poll’s sampling error margin is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

“He’s still a household name in some parts of Virginia,” said Mark Rozell, a political science professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. “Unlike other candidates, Virgil Goode has the potential to siphon off a sizable number of votes regionally.”

Rozell said that if it comes down to Virginia in a very close election, Goode could draw 1 percent to 2 percent of the vote to become this year’s Ralph Nader, although statistically it’s unlikely.

Constitution Party presidential nominee Virgil Goode responds to five key debate questions

The 2nd Obama – Romney Debate

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Since I support neither Barack Obama or Mitt Romney and do not intend to vote for either one of them, no matter how well they do in this debate farce, I can objectively say that Pres. Obama had the upper hand and was pretty much the clear “winner” of debate #2. Gov. Romney showed his privileged elitist 1950’s side in his demeanor. As Jeralyn Merrit at Talk Left pointed out he showed his dominant trait: rudeness:

Mitt Romney is one rude guy. It’s not that he’s a bully, it’s that he is impervious to anything and anyone around him. It’s all about him. And when he doesn’t get his way, he stomps his foot like a spoiled brat.

He’s rude and impatient. Which is a sign he doesn’t play well with others. He thinks he knows best. Would he even listen to his own advisers, or would we be in for four years of Mitt knows best?

He was awful tonight. He may be one of the most unlikable politicians to come along in a while.

Mitt Romney needs to go to charm school. I bet he didn’t have many friends as a kid.

Yes, Gov. Romney was rude but I disagree with Jeralyn, he was also  bully, a typical trait of someone raise in privilege and a corporate CEO. What other candidate would have had the unmitigated audacity to say to a sitting President of the United States, “You’ll get your chance in a moment. I’m still speaking.”? As Charles Pierce at Esquire Politics Blog noted:

Wow. To me, this was a revelatory, epochal moment. It was a look at the real Willard Romney, the Bain cutthroat who could get rich ruining lives and not lose a moment’s sleep. But those people are merely the anonymous Help. The guy he was speaking to on Tuesday night is a man of considerable international influence. Outside of street protestors, and that Iraqi guy who threw a shoe at George W. Bush, I have never seen a more lucid example of manifest public disrespect for a sitting president than the hair-curling contempt with which Romney invested those words. (I’ve certainly never seen one from another candidate.) He’s lucky Barack Obama prizes cool over everything else. LBJ would have taken out his heart with a pair of salad tongs and Harry Truman would have bitten off his nose.

But the best assessment of the night has to be from Jon Stewart:

Libertarian Candidate: Gary Johnson

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The Libertarian Party is the third largest and fastest growing political party in the United States. The party platform is favors minimizing regulation, less government, strong civil liberties (including support for same-sex marriage and other LGBT rights), the legalization of cannabis, separation of church and state, open immigration, non-interventionism and neutrality in diplomatic relations, freedom of trade and travel to all foreign countries, and a more responsive and direct democracy. They support the repeal of NAFTA, CAFTA and other trade agreements, as well as, withdrawal from the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and NATO. The party was founded in 1971 and has qualified for the ballot in 48 states and the District of Columbia.

Former two time Republican governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson is the 2012 party nominee for president:

He entered politics for the first time by running for Governor of New Mexico in 1994 on a fiscally conservative, low-tax, anti-crime platform. Johnson won the Republican Party of New Mexico’s gubernatorial nomination, and defeated incumbent Democratic governor Bruce King by 50% to 40%. He cut the 10% annual growth in the budget: in part, due to his use of the gubernatorial veto 200 times during his first six months in office, which gained him the nickname “Governor Veto”. [..]

Johnson sought re-election in 1998, winning by 55% to 45%. In his second term, he concentrated on the issue of school voucher reforms, as well as campaigning for marijuana decriminalization and opposition to the War on Drugs. [..]

Johnson announced his candidacy for President on April 21, 2011, as a Republican, on a libertarian platform emphasizing the United States public debt and a balanced budget through a 43% reduction of all federal government spending, protection of civil liberties, an immediate end to the War in Afghanistan and his advocacy of the FairTax.

On December 28, 2011, after being excluded from the majority of the Republican Party’s presidential debates and failing to gain traction while campaigning for the New Hampshire primary, he withdrew his candidacy for the Republican nomination and announced that he would continue his presidential campaign as a candidate for the nomination of the Libertarian Party. He won the Libertarian Party nomination on May 5, 2012. His vice-presidential running mate is Judge James P. Gray of California.

Johnson could become the spoiler in this election siphoning off votes from the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, much as many believe the Green Party candidate, Ralph Nader, cost Al Gore the Florida vote in 2000 and Ross Perot candidacy lost George H. W. Bush his second term in 1992. This has the GOP running scared in swing states like Pennsylvania:

The fear of Mr. Johnson’s tipping the outcome in an important state may explain why an aide to Mr. Romney ran what was effectively a surveillance operation into Mr. Johnson’s efforts over the summer to qualify for the ballot at the Iowa State Fair, providing witnesses to testify in a lawsuit to block him that ultimately fizzled.

Libertarians suspect it is why Republican state officials in Michigan blocked Mr. Johnson from the ballot after he filed proper paperwork three minutes after his filing deadline.

And it is why Republicans in Pennsylvania hired a private detective to investigate his ballot drive in Philadelphia, appearing at the homes of paid canvassers and, in some cases, flashing an F.B.I. badge – he was a retired agent – while asking to review the petitions they gathered at $1 a signature, according to testimony in the case and interviews.

The challenge in Pennsylvania, brought by state Republican Party officials who suspected that Democrats were secretly helping the effort to get Mr. Johnson on the ballot, was shot down in court last week, bringing to 48 the number of states where Mr. Johnson will compete on Nov. 6.

On MSNBC’s Daily Rundown, political analyst Chuck Todd discusses the impact of third party candidates and interviewed Gov. Johnson:

You can read more about Gov. Johnson and his running mate, Judge James P. Gray at his campaign’s web site.

Justice Party Candidate: Rocky Anderson

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

If you watch only the major networks or read only the local newspapers you would think that only Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are vying for the Oval Office. There are other candidates running for President but the MSM and the two major parties have managed to keep them out of the debates. There are three other candidates: Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson; Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Today’s focus will be on Justice Party candidate, Rocky Anderson.

Ross Carl “Rocky” Anderson (born September 9, 1951) served two terms as the 33rd mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah, between 2000 and 2008. He is the Executive Director of High Road for Human Rights. Prior to serving as Mayor, he practiced law for 21 years in Salt Lake City, during which time he was listed in Best Lawyers in America, was rated A-V (highest rating) by Martindale-Hubbell, served as Chair of the Utah State Bar Litigation Section and was Editor-in-Chief of, and a contributor to, Voir Dire legal journal.

As mayor, Anderson rose to nationwide prominence as a champion of several national and international causes, including climate protection, immigration reform, restorative criminal justice, LGBT rights, and an end to the “war on drugs”. Before and after the invasion by the U.S. of Iraq in 2003, Anderson was a leading opponent of the invasion and occupation of Iraq and related human rights abuses. Anderson was the only mayor of a major U.S. city who advocated for the impeachment of President George W. Bush, which he did in many venues throughout the United States.

Anderson’s work and advocacy led to local, national, and international recognition in numerous spheres, including being named by Business Week as one of the top twenty activists in the world on climate change, serving on the Newsweek Global Environmental Leadership Advisory Board, and being recognised by the Human Rights Campaign as one of the top ten straight advocates in the United States for LGBT equality. He has also received numerous awards for his work, including the EPA Climate Protection Award,[9] the Sierra Club Distinguished Service Award, the Respect the Earth Planet Defender Award, the National Association of Hispanic Publications Presidential Award, The Drug Policy Alliance Richard J. Dennis Drugpeace Award, the Progressive Democrats of America Spine Award, the League of United Latin American Citizens Profile in Courage Award,[14] the Bill of Rights Defense Committee Patriot Award,[15] the Code Pink (Salt Lake City) Pink Star honor, the Morehouse University Gandhi, King, Ikeda Award, and the World Leadership Award for environmental programs.[16]

Formerly a member of the Democratic Party, Anderson expressed his disappointment with that Party in 2011, stating, “The Constitution has been eviscerated while Democrats have stood by with nary a whimper. It is a gutless, unprincipled party, bought and paid for by the same interests that buy and pay for the Republican Party.” Anderson announced his intention to run for President in 2012 as a candidate for the newly-formed Justice Party

Logan native Rocky Anderson discusses run for U.S. president, need for more parties

Since announcing his run for the White House in January, Anderson has stressed the elimination of corporate influence in American government and on making the office of president more accountable. Other issues that top his list, he said, are climate change, equal rights and the regulation of banking and finance industries. [..]

Explaining the purpose of the new Justice Party, Anderson says his campaign is different because the two primary candidates are ignoring the country’s most significant challenges.

“Neither of the dominant parties will even discuss breaking up the banks that are too big to fail,” he added. “We just went through a major economic upheaval with tragic results for the American people … and yet the conditions that led to the economic meltdown are still in place, and it’s because these candidates and their parties have received millions of dollars from Wall Street firms.”

The candidate said he wants the White House to be held accountable for its aerial drone program, which Anderson says has killed “hundreds if not thousands of innocent men, women and children,” and tainted the United States’ reputation for global security.

Democracy at Work: Green Party Candidate Arrested

Green Party candidate for president, Jill Stein and her running mate, Cheri Honkala, were arrested outside of Hofstra University, the site of tonight’s restricted debate between President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Governor Mitt Romney. It was reported that they was denied access to the university by Hofstra representatives because they didn’t have “credentials.” After about 20 minutes of trying to gain access, Dr. Stein and Ms. Honkala sat down on the sidewalk draping an American flag across their laps. Police advised them if they did not move they would be arrested. They refused and were led away by Nassau County and campus police.

The Green Party will be on 85% of the ballots in November but because of the tight control of the debates organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), a supposed “non-partisan” entity, the voices of other candidates are being silenced.

You can however stay informed. Dr. Stein will be participating in at least four other debates according to a statement at her web site:

   Thursday, October 18 — The Independent Voter Network debate between Jill Stein and Gary Johnson can be viewed live on October 18, 2012 beginning at 7:00 PM EST on http://ivn.us/, or on IVN.us’ Google+ and YouTube page. More information at: http://ivn.us/ca-election-cent…

  Monday, October 22 — Time TBA: Democracy Now continues its “Expanding the Debate” series with a live broadcast during the third presidential debate with real-time responses from Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein and Justice Party nominee Rocky Anderson. For full details: http://www.democracynow.org/bl…

   Thursday, October 23 & Tuesday October 30 — Free and Equal Election’s Alternative Debate will be available live online, streaming from http://freeandequal.org/live on Oct. 23 and Oct 30 at 9:00 PM EST.  The first of thses two debates will include Jill Stein from the Green Party; Gary Johnson from the Libertarian Party; Virgil Goode from the Constitution Party; and Rocky Anderson from the Justice Party.  More information at: http://action.freeandequal.org…

Election 2012: Congress

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Despite the Obama administration’s poor performance, it appears that President Obama is on his way to a second term. It also appears that the Senate will continue to remain in the hands of the Democrats and now there is speculation that favors the Democrats taking back the House of Representatives.

What has changed? Up with Chris Hayes host Chris Hayes and The Nation‘s Washington correspondent, John Nichols discuss the status of heavily contested U.S. House and Senate races across the country, and the polls that show a potential uptick for Democrats.

At the New York Times, Nate Silver, who writes Five Thirty Eight, gives his analysis on key Senate races and what has gone wrong for GOP Candidates:

Since we published our initial Senate forecast on Tuesday, Republicans have seen an additional decline in their standing in two major races.

Two polls of Virginia published on Wednesday gave the Democrat, the former Gov. Tim Kaine, leads of 4 and 7 percentage points over the Republican, the former Senator George Allen. [..]

The other problematic state for Republicans is Wisconsin, where their candidate, the former Gov. Tommy Thompson, had once appeared to hold the advantage.

Mr. Thompson’s Democratic opponent, Representative Tammy Baldwin, had published an internal poll earlier this week showing her pulling into the lead. [..]

Wednesday also brought bad news for Republicans in Massachusetts, where a fourth consecutive poll showed the Democrat Elizabeth Warren ahead of Senator Scott Brown; in Connecticut, where a poll gave the Democrat Chris Murphy a slight advantage over their candidate, Linda McMahon; and in Florida, where a Fox News poll gave the Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson a 14-point lead.

The Democrats’ chances of controlling the Senate have increased to 79 percent in the forecast, up from 70 percent on Tuesday.

Nate has two theories on what has effected the downturn for the GOP:

Theory No. 1: Is Romney a Downballot Drag?

Mr. Romney has not dictated much in the way of detailed programs in these areas, and some of the policy stances that he has articulated are unpopular.

Mr. Romney has also been less able to campaign effectively against an unpopular Democratic initiative, the Democrats’ health care bill, because he passed a similar bill as governor of Massachusetts.

Finally, some voters who disapprove of Mr. Obama, but who also have lukewarm feelings toward Mr. Romney, might lean toward voting Democrat for Senate in effort to ensure divided government, especially since Republicans also have control of the House.

Theory No. 2: G.O.P. Conservatism Is Hurting

An alternative hypothesis is that the shift has to do with overall perceptions of the Republican platform.

Nate’s last comment in the article was that if this trend continues with the Senate races leaning to Democrats just how vulnerable is the GOP to losing the House? Well here are a couple of articles that discuss just that possibility:

Breaking blue? Will Romney-Ryan troubles give Dems shot at House Majority?]

by Michael John Spinelli

(As) Romney-Ryan lose steam just when they’re supposed to be gaining on the White House, Republicans, including House Ohio Congressman and House Speaker John Boehner, show by actions they took last week that maintaining control of the people’s chamber may not be the slam dunk they once thought.

Reports surfaced late last week that House Republicans are throwing in $3.2 million to save their majority. Speaker John Boehner, one report said, is in “all-out panic mode,” manifested by his initiative to ask his Republican Members to put up $3.2 million from their coffers to save their shaky House majority.

If the Senate can stay in Democratic control, as many pollsters believe it can, and the House gavel leaves Boehner’s grip to be wielded by California congresswoman Nancy Pelosi again, President Obama’s second term will turn on a dime from being four years of more GOP obstruction to his every policy recommendation, to a term he can double down on, learning from the battlefield of missed first-term opportunities. [..]

Democrats are currently leading in national “generic ballot polls that ask people which party they prefer for House races (without naming candidates), Dylan Matthews at Wonkblog writes, about the fact that has led a forecasters like Princeton’s Sam Wang to conclude that, based on past elections, Democrats are favored to retake the House. Wang puts the odds of that occurring at 74 percent.

The article by Mr. Wang that is cited above is from August. This is Mr. Wang’s latest analysis of the Democrat’s change of taking back the House:

Conditions through August showed a 2% lead on the generic Congressional ballot for Democrats. As of September 20th, in the wake of the Democratic convention, the lead has widened to 4.0 +/- 2.0%. Although it has yet to be appreciated by pundits, this could well translate to a November loss of the House of Representatives by Republicans. Based on the generic Congressional ballot, the probability of a Democratic takeover is 74% with a median 16-seat majority. Whichever party is in control, the seat margin is headed for being narrower than the current Congress. Like any probability in the 20-80% range, this is a knife-edge situation. This picture may change over the coming six weeks as more information, especially district-level polls, becomes available. [..]

Predicting the House outcome is challenging. First, there is the basic problem that we have to estimate how far opinion will move between now and November. On top of that, there is uncertainty in knowing how the polling measurement – generic Congressional ballot preference – translates to a seat outcome.

Another approach would be to use district-by-district polls and ratings. An estimate like that can be seen from our data partner, Pollster.com. Their House outlook shows retained GOP control, and RealClearPolitics implies the same. However, many of those polls are weeks or months old. My estimate today suggests that in the coming weeks, we might look for district polls to move in the Democrats’ direction. This is also an opportunity for a detailed analytical approach, as taken elsewhere, to shine.

Regardless of which party controls the Executive Branch, it is the Congress that can dictate the direction of policies. We will be following these races and trends closely.

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