suppressing democracy Archives

February 10, 2006

No democracy, please -- we're Democrats

Doublehelix has kindly called our attention to an amazingly brazen attempt to suppress democracy by, you guessed it, seven House Democrats, led by Dave Obey of Wisconsin's Seventh District. Some highlights:
The bill would effectively eliminate virtually all congressional campaigns by independent and third-party candidates.... [it] would provide public financing for both Democrats and Republicans in most districts. But ... candidates not qualifying for funding would not only receive no government funds, but would also be barred from spending any privately raised money. No government money and no private money means that a non-qualifying candidate would be prohibited from spending any money at all, not one red cent. Not even a business card with the candidate’s name and office sought would be legal under the bill!

Requirements for qualifying for funding would be relatively easy for the major parties but almost impossible for independent and third-party candidates. The bill would provide public funding for nominees of parties that had averaged 25% of the vote for U.S. House in that district over the last two elections. Independent candidates who had averaged 25% would also get full public funding, but unlike party candidates, only the specific individual who previously got those votes would qualify. All others would be required to submit petitions signed by 20% of the last vote cast for full funding, and 10% for partial funding. For example, in Missouri’s 2nd congressional district, a candidate with a party that won less than 25% of the vote in the last two elections would need nearly 70,000 signatures to qualify for the public funding that her/his Democratic and Republican opponents would get automatically, and only signatures from the 2nd District would count. Nearly 35,000 signatures would be required in order to allow the candidate to spend anything at all on the campaign.

In certain districts where a single party is dominant, the bill would eliminate campaigns by the district’s second party as well. Not surprisingly, Democrats (who propose this bill) hold Republican opponents to below 25% in more districts than Republicans do the same to Democrats.

In a discussion of this bill on Ballot Access News, a contributor drops the penny:
[I]n 2004, Rep. Obey faced a challenger from the left for the first time in his political career in the person of Mike Miles, who ran as a Green. Obey refused to debate Miles, saying that he (Miles) was not a “legitimate” candidate. Miles got one of the highest vote totals of any third party candidate that year; he’s already announced that he’s running again.
This breathtakingly shameless and desperate Katie-bar-the-door move suggests that some of these do-nothing Democrats are feeling squeezed from both sides -- the Republicans on the right and dissatisfied Progs getting bold enough to bolt on the left. Safe Democratic congressional districts may be on the endangered-species list -- and not a minute too soon -- so the obvious remedy is to outlaw the problem.

The other sponsors of this quiet coup -- it's an interesting list:

  • Rep DeLauro, Rosa L. [CT-3]
  • Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51]
  • Rep Frank, Barney [MA-4]
  • Rep Israel, Steve [NY-2]
  • Rep McGovern, James P. [MA-3]
  • Rep Ryan, Tim [OH-17]
  • Rep Waxman, Henry A. [CA-30]
Over to you for comment, JSP.

Democrats vs. democracy, continued

Tim D writes, in a note too good to be just a comment:
I see Alan Smithee beat me to the comment I was going to make, which was that the Democrats don't want to have to waste their precious corporate donors' money on lawsuits and volunteer energy on petition reviews to suppress opposition candidates in future elections.

As many astute and honest commentators pointed out during the 2004 election, the Democrats fully demostrated who they found to be the greater threat to their campaign, when they voted to extend registration for Republicans in at least four states (the Republicans held their convention so late that they actually failed to qualify for the ballot in a number of states), while launching a number of vicious lawsuits against Nader's campaign.

By the way, if you didn't hear, Oregon Democrats already passed a law in that state that will make it virtually impossible for independent candidates to get on the ballot in that state.

Thanks, Tim and Alan!

March 7, 2006


Troll sat alone on his seat of stone,
And munched and mumbled a bare old bone;
For many a year he had gnawed it near,
For meat was hard to come by.
Not Tolkien's best poem, but not by any means his worst either, I regret to say. It suddenly popped into my mind as I was reading The Huffington Post blog and encountered this gem from one Russel Shaw:
This is getting real, real tiresome, I know. But I am wondering how many of you who voted for Nader in 2000 rather than Al Gore really believe that Al Gore would have appointed an anti-choice Supreme Court "Justice" in the mold of Samuel Alito.

A Justice whose ascendancy to the Court would embolden South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds to sign legislation today that if upheld, would sentence SD MDs to five years in jail if they perform abortions -- even in the case of rape or incest.

So the South Dakota abortion law is Ralph Nader's fault.

You've almost got to admire these guys. The loopy, contorted ingenuity, the willed obliviousness, the highly selective but pachydermatously retentive memory. If Alito is so scary, why didn't the Democrats filibuster him? And if the Democrats are so "pro-choice", why is Hillary Clinton supporting an anti-abortion Democrat in Pennsylvania?

May 10, 2006

Small-d democracy

I've thrown this out in a comment panel on my party hero, the peerless WJ Bryan, who so far as I can see, never for a moment confused his party's success - a party he served faithfully his whole life - with the march of democracy itself. His ultimate loyalty was to the people, not his party.

So in that light I here bring forth, up top and impersonal, my Bryanoid pledge to all party members and fellow travellers. I call it the open ballot anti-partisan pledge:

I will never again vote for any Democratic candidate who will not pledge his or her unswervable best efforts to open the ballot as wide as possible to independent and third party candidates. Put the small 'd' back in big 'D' politics!

August 18, 2006

Massachusetts to catch up with... New York?

I notice my home state of Massachusetts will have a proposition on the fall ballot that legalizes cross-candidate endorsement a la Nueva York

It's of course only one of a number of state-level initiatives, all sharing a common popular purpose -- facilitate wider choice by revitalizing the electoral grounds for a new generation of state parties of principle.

To me, this is a welcome expression of anti-Orthrian refom.

Now of course process reform without brave new substance is a barren enterprise, and prolly each one of these measures, considered in isolation, can be shot full of cynical holes; but the great wave of such efforts can only warm the folksy heart of real progressives everywhere.

August 28, 2006

We'll make 'em Americans in the movie

Alan Smithee writes:

Probably you've already heard about this particular bit of democrat pettifoggery. But in case you haven't, here's a link to one article on the issue.

Election of Alabama lesbian overturned by committee

I know the phrase "Resurgent Dixiecrat" sounds ridiculous, but I guess anything is possible in The New Millennium.

September 26, 2006

Threat of democracy beaten back again

Thuggish, beetle-browed War Democrat and abortion foe Bob Casey, the party's Senate hope in Pennsylvania, has succeeded, for the moment at least, in getting the Green Party candidate off the ballot. Thus the Philadelphia Enquirer:

Romanelli thrown off ballot
A judge ruled that the Green Party candidate did not obtain enough valid signatures.

HARRISBURG - A state judge ordered yesterday the Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate removed from the ballot because the party did not have enough valid signatures in its nominating petitions.

But Carl Romanelli, who has been challenged by state Democrats, isn't giving up. Romanelli said he remains hopeful that the state Supreme Court will side with him in a separate matter: an appeal of a state judge's decision rejecting Romanelli's arguments that the 2 percent signature threshold should be based on last year's statewide judicial retention elections, which would reduce the number required from 67,070 to fewer than 16,000.

"The Democrats have a long way to go to get me off the ballot," Romanelli said....

The Democratic State Committee's lawsuit spawned a six-week review of tens of thousands of signatures. Romanelli's lawyer had argued that many of the signatures were incorrectly invalidated because of problems with the state's computerized voter registry, but [Judge] Kelley concluded that it was too late to take up that claim.

Pennsylvania law requires minor party and independent candidates to collect a number of signatures equal to 2 percent of the ballots cast for the largest vote-getter in the last statewide election. This year's threshold was based on Casey's record vote count in winning the treasurer's office in 2004, resulting in an unusually high number.

Lawrence Otter, Romanelli's lawyer, has argued that the number of signatures should be based on last year's retention vote for then-State Supreme Court Justice Russell Nigro, who lost his bid to remain on the bench....

Romanelli's support for abortion rights was considered likely to take away votes that would have otherwise gone to Casey, since Casey and Santorum oppose abortion rights. The Democrats' lawsuit challenged about three-quarters of the 94,000 signatures Romanelli gathered, saying they included fake names, unregistered voters and illegible signatures.

May 26, 2007

Assimilating The Wingnut Mindset

Bill Richardson is clearly the best qualified Dem candidate for president, unless Al Gore decides to run. There are a couple of other folks I'd probably prefer to Ms. Clinton. That being said, the likelihood is great that she will be the Dem nominee, and it will behoove all of us to support her and encourage all of our contacts to support her. Given the realities of American politics, Ms. Clinton, for all her flaws, is greatly to be preferred to anyone the Repugs might nominate, and would probably be a fine president, as presidents go. So take your shots, but have the self-respect to admit they are cheap, self-serving, and, in the end, detrimental to our public debate and perhaps to our chances to get the country turned around, if it's not too late already.

The condescension just drips, doesn't it? I don't know whether the commenter, Acorvid, in this thread is one of those vigilante authoritarian ankle-biters or is a party apparatchik out laying down the law to the little people. The playbook for both is the same, however: a declaration of faith, followed by crackpot realism and capped with an incoherent, short'n'curly-yanking emotional appeal. How would an inappropriate and false admission of cheapness help anyone's self-respect? Moreover, what was cheap about posting on Senator Clinton's enviro-hypocrisy? How is exposing that hypocrisy detrimental to our public debate? Would giving a corrupt and dishonest politican a pass really do anything to help "turn the country around"? Why would anyone feel an obligation to support her, given her easily documented contempt for liberal values? She'd only be be good as a jingoist country club candidate. There's not (here it comes now, heads up people) a dime's worth of difference between Acorvid's rhetorical style and that of any of the less vituperative wingnuts. He's boxed himself into a rhetorical corner. Even if Hillary Clinton were worth supporting, the means he's using are going to offend anyone with some self-respect. This, for the Democrats, is the product of slamming the Overton Window on their sensitive parts one too many times. For the wingnuts, it's an effective means of moving the "debate" further into lock down territory. What kind of fool gives the game away so easily?

August 19, 2007

The Worse The Better, Continued

Courtesy of Who Is IOZ?, Vichy Sunday.

For a thorough excoriation, Arthur Silber

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 — Broad new surveillance powers approved by Congress this month could allow the Bush administration to conduct spy operations that go well beyond wiretapping to include — without court approval — certain types of physical searches on American soil and the collection of Americans’ business records, Democratic Congressional officials and other experts said.

Administration officials acknowledged that they had heard such concerns from Democrats in Congress recently, and that there was a continuing debate over the meaning of the legislative language. But they said the Democrats were simply raising theoretical questions based on a harsh interpretation of the legislation.

They also emphasized that there would be strict rules in place to minimize the extent to which Americans would be caught up in the surveillance.

The dispute illustrates how lawmakers, in a frenetic, end-of-session scramble, passed legislation they may not have fully understood and may have given the administration more surveillance powers than it sought.


As usual, the Democrats have gone much further than their constituents and the country at large feel comfortable supporting. Security state legislation enjoys tepid, qualified support, at best. A poll conducted for the ACLU in the wake of the Patriot Act uncovered serious reservations. Americans by and large support due process. They reject torture. Outside relatively small groups of paranoid, vindictive and ignorant people, it takes a great deal of fearmongering, rhetorical manipulation, harassment and narrowing of political choice to get them to acquiesce to the policies of their leadership, in either party. Their desire, at least, for some attempt at decency is quite strong. A party that promises its supporters a difference from "business as usual", and achieves a majority based on widespread disgust with excesses, owes its supporters much more than a hurried vote and greater license for excess.

It is possible that the Democratic leadership is so self-deluded that they feel constantly expressed opposition to capitulations and tightening the screws translates to demands for worse policies. But if so, why do so many of them make so many excuses? Why do they blame the Republicans and duck questions? Why do they as a group continue to give campaigning support and enabling perqs to defectors within their ranks? It seems far more likely that they feel guilty, but compelled and/or obliged to carry on. They certainly have no reluctance to benefit from the inevitable fall out. Deep thinkers in their pundit corps don't mind a little "the worse, the better", all in a good cause, and they're certainly no strangers to crackpot realism.

I'd draw up short of saying the party as a whole, or even a majority, has agreed to a "the worse, the better" strategy. What they have agreed to is amoral collegiality -- corporate conservatism, as opposed to the corporate liberalism of the past. It's not internally fixable. It relies heavily on rejecting feedback, in much the same the way troubled companies circle the PR wagons when enough bigshots have screwed up so badly that facing the music looks like an existential threat. Changing that would mean an overhaul of the supporting infrastructure. Too many people are dirty for it to happen on its own.

September 9, 2009

Jacksonian Socialism

enter PAINE hatchet raised ....

why ? read this !!!!:

"Open Letter to Congress and the Executive Branch

Amidst the debate over systemic regulation, the independence of U.S. monetary policy is at risk. We urge Congress and the Executive Branch to reaffirm their support for and defend the independence of the Federal Reserve System as a foundation of U.S. economic stability. There are three specific risks that must be contained.
First, central bank independence has been shown to be essential for controlling inflation. Sooner or later, the Fed will have to scale back its current unprecedented monetary accommodation. When the Federal Reserve judges it time to begin tightening monetary conditions, it must be allowed to do so without interference.

Second, lender of last resort decisions should not be politicized.

Finally, calls to alter the structure or personnel selection of the Federal Reserve System easily could backfire by raising inflation expectations and borrowing costs and dimming prospects for recovery. The democratic legitimacy of the Federal Reserve System is well established by its legal mandate and by the existing appointments process. Frequent communication with the public and testimony before Congress ensure Fed accountability.

If the Federal Reserve is given new responsibilities every effort must be made to avoid compromising its ability to manage monetary policy as it sees fit."

that piece of beached blubber had under it the signatures of an argos full of econ con semi notables

what a pack of sackless sycophants

for christ sake the fed should be in congressional bondage regalia by now

come on after the recent blow out

forget your average drift wood pwog like kusinich or woolsey
how can committee power in hand types like cousin barney frank


ginger cat around like he does in this interview

why he oughta order up the capital police's alpha squad car
and send it to fetch up the current talmudic looking mule of a fed chairman


and bring him before his committee " for a good public muzzle to tail harnessing "
and and post " ritual investment "
send him off
on a peremptory drag around capitol hill on the end of a mexican bull rope


back to the econ con hierophants

these geeps are scared the fed may lose its....independence ???...

christ on the fuckin half shell

"...every effort must be made to avoid compromising (the fed's) ability to manage monetary policy as it sees fit."


after sinking millions of good old hard jobbin' amerikan homeholders below the debt line ??
why ....
the house should rise as one and take back the mandate of heaven from those wall street skylarks

run the netions credit system from a desk in the House clock room

damn those pwog geese for their supine dick licking

that's not even scratchin at the toes of what obama san oughta been doin'

why i bet no more then ten minutes after this swear in ceremony
a general jackson


would have strode right over
to that temple of mammon.... "pussonally "
thrown the lot of em out like sunday morning garbage

and then challenged our dear gentle ben to a duel !!!

January 16, 2010

Unwholesome Cross-Pollination

In the finest tradition of corporate copy-catting, David Cameron is a change we can hope to believe we can... oh, to hell with it. The picture says it all.



July 3, 2010

Cop Riot

While rampaging in Toronto, the police managed to arrest live action role players—Renaissance Faire types. I can't imagine why they thought that would do anything for their image. But they did, and they displayed the costumes and props at a press conference as though they were proof of nefarious intent. All it cost was a billion dollars. Such snotty little boys. I think they need something worthwhile to do.


Poorly socialized children can sometimes be helped by teaching them how to care for animals. You have to keep a watchful eye, but often they can relate empathetically to pets and use that as a springboard to being able to consider humans, human.

About suppressing democracy

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Stop Me Before I Vote Again in the suppressing democracy category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

stopping traffic is the previous category.

Taxes are for the little people is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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