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January 30, 2021

The System Book Review

­­­­The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It, Robert Reich, Alfred A Knopf, NY 2020

 Having come across this 2020 Robert Reich book on the library shelf after the 2020 election, I was compelled to not just read it, but give it a thorough going over. The title drew me in with a promise that I immediately doubted he could deliver. “The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It” triggered my pessimism, since so many others have declared such grand outcomes with little to no impact.

In this manuscript, Former Labor Secretary and eminent scholar Robert Reich has delivered a powerful directive on how we the people can clear the fog of fabrications. Previously unseen in clear daylight, Reich lifts the fog and exposes the details of the modern-day oligarchy (the third in our nation’s history, according to the author).

Starting around 1980 up until 2019, the share of the nation’s household income going to the richest 1 percent more than doubled, while the earnings of the bottom 90 percent barely rose (all adjusted for inflation). CEO pay increased 940 percent, but the typical worker’s pay increased 12 percent. “This has been accompanied by a dramatic increase in the political power of the super-wealthy and an equally dramatic decline in the political influence of everyone else.”

 With unashamed aplomb the oligarchy is back. Read this book to fully understand how the government is being run, how legislation is drafted, and who really controls the purse strings. Behind the platitudes and public declarations, where our public treasury funds are divvied out and who benefits from the nation’s economic and financial policies and regulations (or lack thereof) really dictates who has the “Power” to govern.

Power is the ability to direct or influence the behavior of others. On a large scale, power is the capacity to set the public the public agenda – to frame big choices, to influence legislators, and to get laws enacted or prevent them from being enacted, to assert one’s will on the world.

Power is exercised by particular people that have outsized influence over running the big institutions – big Wall Street banks, global corporations, the executive and legislative branches of government, the Federal Reserve and the Supreme Court, the military, elite universities, and the media (including social media as organized by Big Tech). These individuals include CEO’s large investors, hedge fund and private equity managers, media moguls, key lobbying groups like the Business Roundtable headed by JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon, and major donors to political candidates and universities.

“Under their control”, according to Reich, “there will be no substantial tax increases for them, no antitrust enforcement, no meaningful constraint on Wall Street’s dangerous gambling addiction, no limits to CEO pay.”

Reich lifts a quote from the GOP nominee Donald Trump at the 2016 Republican convention, “Big business, elite media, and major donors are lining up behind the campaign of my opponent because they know she [Hillary Clinton] will keep our rigged system in place.” Could that been a foreshadowing that as president, Trump intended to break up the system? If so, none could have envisioned it to come in a such a reckless manner.

This is not a new subject, of course. In 1976 authors ­­­­­­­­­­Morton Mintz and Jerry S. Cohen attempted to gain back power to the American citizens in their lengthy “Power Inc.”, which detailed the difficulty of trusting governing to the wealthy elite. They forecasted the attempted 2021 presidential power grab by pointing out gaps in the constitution that allow a strongman figure in the Executive branch and accurately predicted that lobbying and the legalized corruption of the super-rich buying off politicians would continue to threaten our democracy.

“Concentrated economic power lies at the core of much of the unrest, injustice, and unresponsive government that besets us. Until it is removed, we can fiddle with this and that, but true progress will elude us... Diffusion of power is and must remain a foremost goal. If significant or concentrated power cannot be reliably diffused, broken up, checked and balanced, or restrained by a putatively sovereign electorate, what can be done?”

Larry Sabato reported back in 1985 a quote by Fred Wertheimer, president of Common Cause in 1983: “Alarming, Outrageous. Downright dangerous. That’s the only way to begin to describe the threat posed by the torrents of special interest campaign cash being offered up to our Representatives and Senators by the special interest political action committees. This democracy-threatening trend must be stopped.”

Justification for PACs was also reported by Sabato. Patrick J. Buchanan wrote in 1983, In Defense of PACs (Richmond Times Dispatch), “Destroy the PACs and you constrict the voice of small business, and restrict the political access of the millions who support them __ enhancing the clout of Big Media, Big Business, Big Labor and their ilk who can afford the maintain permanent lobbying representation in Washington.”

To ensure that his political pals got their slice of the pie, President Ronald Reagan complained directly to business leaders before the 1978 election about the proportion of PAC funds being given to Democrats: “I don’t think the Republican party has received the kind of financial support from corporate PACs that its record deserves. . . . The best thing you can hope for by following [a split-giving] policy is that the alligator will eat you last.”

Here we are years later facing the same daunting questions, while the ruling oligarchy has stripped the financial fortitude of the middle class, reducing it to less than a third of what it was then.

By having the power and the assertiveness to wield it, Reich calls out the ruling elite class. He addresses the oligarchy directly, calling them “hidden bullies” crashing up against democracy itself. He singles out individual actors and criticizes their ignorance or indifference to the depth of dysfunction and resentment that has resulted from a diminished middle class. The bottom 90 percent are diverted from these realities by being deceived into seeing Immigrants, African Americans, Latinos, Muslims among others as scapegoats for their loss of status.

The nation is dividing into warring cultural tribes as witnessed in Washington on January 6, 2021. Americans who are angry and suspicious of one another will fight over crumbs rather than join together against those who have run off with most of the pie. This racism and xenophobia fueled by the president drew an “astounding silence” from the vast majority of CEOs because “a divide-and-conquer strategy gives them more room to maneuver.”

Corruption has become systemic, reaching deep into both political parties, with neither committed to challenging the increasing concentration of wealth and power in America. Both have come to depend on that wealth and defer to that power. They are adept at creating diversions. For instance, investigative journalist Greg Palast’s 2012 book, “Billionaires & Ballot Bandits”, details the Koch Brothers’ influence behind the Newt Gingrich “Contract with America” which served to gain the majority in the House of Representatives for the first time in a generation. They created a fake populist movement by purporting “plutocracy” and fawning rhetoric that attacked the “elite” and even the “rich”. While their Contract expressed a lofty purpose, their actions and legislation did not match up to those promises. By the time the left wrestled back control of the House, much favorable legislation had already been written to tighten the oligarchy’s hold on the power they coveted. 

That was just one example in a vicious cycle of political shenanigans and influence peddling detailed in Palast’s book, and touched on by Reich. Reciting a 2014 study by Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page to determine from where influence on legislation comes, Reich concluded: The preferences of the average American (voter) appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero statistically non-significant impact on public policy. Lawmakers tend to listen to the policy demands of big businesses and wealthy individuals --- those with the most lobbying powers and deepest pockets to bankroll campaigns and promote their views. This detailed analysis of 1,799 policy issues used data from 1981 to 2002, well before Citizens United.

Several writers in recent years have accurately pronounced the death of the old left-versus-right, conservative-versus-liberal dichotomy of political reality. It has been replaced by the many against the few. Dr. Naomi Wolf declares, “Many ordinary citizens these days say that they don’t see much difference between the two major political parties.” Instead, candidates are subject to coronation by special interest. “In reality, both are largely beholden, albeit in different proportions, to the Big Six, the major special interests: what I call War Inc. (and its emerging major subsidiary, Fear Inc., or the global surveillance and security industry), Big Pharma, Big Insurance, Big Oil, Big Agriculture, and Wall Street. We can probably add Big Incarceration to that list now. Smart voters realize that whatever their political beliefs, those who don’t hold power in these major industries … are getting screwed.”

Those views were lifted from the introduction of the third edition of “What You Should Know About Politics…But Don’t”, by Jessamyn Conrad. This very well-written “Non-Partisan Guide to the Issues that Matter” lists possible solutions like Ranked Choice voting, which would allow for more moderate and broadly popular winners to emerge, because many voters would get their second if not their first choice.  But, “since it would take politicians to change the law, it’s unlikely to happen because they are the ones who benefit.”

It is this plutocracy that perpetuates the status quo of an unfair (especially to independent candidates) electoral structure that diminishes the chance of any improvement in our nominating process. I have been an independent candidate for office numerous times. It has always been a tougher struggle to earn a ballot position not being in the top two parties. Even getting petition signatures is difficult as people have the misguided perception that we indies strip votes from the others.

One good thing did come from my 12 to16 hour days in the trenches over a period of two dozen years is that I can testify that the allegations of voter fraud – which rarely produce any evidence let alone convictions – are just overblown rhetorical scare tactics largely perfected by those trying to protect their reducing “white” or “rich” minority. Fear works, especially tactics like anti-immigration. As Wolf explains, big party candidates can use this issue “to divide and distract the electorate without burning up any real political capital with special interests.”

Many political scientists hypothesized that the power of big corporations and Wall Street was offset by the power of labor unions, farm cooperatives, retailers, and small banks. Of course, in the last 40 years these “countervailing powers” have disappeared.

Grass roots membership organizations have wilted because people have less time since their wages have stagnated and most work more hours or two jobs in order to make ends meet. Union membership has plunged because corporations bust unions by sending jobs overseas, replacing striking workers, or firing those that try to form unions. Other centers of countervailing power - retailers, farm coops, local and regional banks – lost ground to national discount chains, big agribusiness, and Wall Street.

The problem is not excessive greed (Wall Street), it is the excessive quest for power. Reich identifies members of this oligarchy and one of their objectives as ending free-choice government by destabilizing the electoral system and destroying the whole system of representative government. This was a profound foresight practically predicting the Trump destabilization tactics during his final two months move to retain power.

Reich particularly calls out JP Morgan’s CEO, Jamie Dimon.  What makes him complicit is his determination to propel government relations - a polite phrase for influence peddling - as JP Morgan’s “seventh line of business”. According to Reich, “Dimon has also built a formidable lobbying machine in Washington – far larger than the lobbying machines of Wall Street’s other big banks – replete with politically connected former congressional staffers who battle daily on behalf of JPMorgan in the halls of congress, administrative agencies, and the courts. JPMorgan also keeps on hand a fleet of Washington lawyers, tax attorneys, political consultants, and public relations professionals.”

Multiply his efforts as chair of the Business Roundtable, an association of 192 other CEO’s of America’s biggest companies, and you’ll realize the outsized voice that they achieve in Washington.

Reich’s reflection on the palace guard is telling. They are highly educated, with over 40 percent of Ivy League graduates ending up in finance, management consulting, and corporate law. They achieve annual incomes of more than $1.3 million. The richest 10 percent own 80 percent of the stock market. They tend to reside around DC, New York, or coastal California, with low crime rates, and the best public schools and amenities. And they are overwhelmingly white. PEW Research reports these minority percentages among the SuperRich: Latino 2.4 percent; African-American 1.9 percent; other minorities including Asian and multi-racial 8.8 percent.

Studies report that most of these super-rich individuals are socially liberal, but would not criticize their pay source or seek to reduce its power. They favor diversity, inclusion, equal marriage rights, and more attention paid to the environment. But they avoid questions of class and power and overlook the demise of democratic institutions, as long as more women and blacks are elected.

It seems as though Reich is conceding that they hold the power and that we the people could appeal to the elitists to create favorable legislation. The problem, as Reich hammers home so copiously, is that they only seem to answer the financial bell. Their careers are dedicated to preserving and defending the system and to helping the oligarchy aggregate even more wealth and power. Peter Fenn of the Center for Responsive Politics was correct when he observed that “the root of the problem is not PACs, it’s money.

What was previously defined as corruption was redefined in the Citizens United vs FEC case. The court now defined “corruption” to mean the exchange of specific money for specific votes --- in other words, it’s only bribery if it’s specific and intentional. General contributions to an independent political committee, on top of whole cadres of lawyers and lobbyists, make it easy for an entity that needs it least - Big Oil - to reap a benefit of $2.5 billion returned in favorable legislation and subsidies on $150 million invested. These are fully disclosed, yet the legality or morality of it goes largely unchallenged, since everyone playing along can join the revolving door of ex-Congressmen and Senators and their staffers who become high paid lobbyists. Reich adds, “Government will provide even more corporate subsidies, bailouts, and loan guarantees. It will continue to eliminate protections for consumers, workers, and the environment. It will become a government for, of, and by the oligarchy.”

Palast offered a simple solution: transparency. If the law of the land declares corporations are people, then we have the right to know which corporations are acting like people and which are buying elections and purging voters from the rolls. Or we can demand an end to the fiction. Corporations are not people.

Right up to the end of the single term Trump presidency, it was easy for the ruling class to execute a nearly flawless culture of control. The Republican Administration looked the other way while the over-the-top Trump antics finally drove their joyride into the ditch. According to Reich, social unrest and divisiveness stoked by the one-term president, right up to the bitter end, only served their objectives by obfuscating what is really taking place. The bully-in-chief stoked division and tribalism so most Americans wouldn’t see CEOs getting exorbitant pay while they’re slicing the pay of average workers, wouldn’t pay attention to the giant tax cut that went to big corporations and the wealthy, and wouldn’t notice a boardroom culture that tolerates financial conflicts of interest, insider trading, and the outright bribery of public officials through unlimited campaign donations.

Stoking racial resentments, describing human beings as illegal aliens, fueling hatred of immigrants, and spreading fears of communists and socialists collectively gave the oligarchy freer rein: It distracted Americans from paying attention while the oligarchy is looting the nation, buying off politicians, and silencing critics.

 According to Reich, Independent-declaring membership has grown to over 42%. This book, “The System”, may have had enough gravitas to swing a few undecided voters in the transactional vote that dumped Trump.

With a propensity for self-destruction, Trump knew how to keep everyone stirred up: vilify, disparage, denounce, defame, and accuse the other side of conspiring against America, and do it continuously. Schooled in reality television and the New York City tabloids, Trump dominated every news cycle. He even had enablers like Lou Dobbs, who played along by reporting on trumped up claims of election fraud, then later had to debunk his own irresponsible claims due to lack of evidence.

Trump wasn’t interested in converting large numbers to a cause. His goal was cynicism, disruption, and division. That way, he and the oligarchy behind him could rig the system and then complain loudly that the system is rigged, and the 2020 election was stolen. 

I give credit to Reich for attempting to detail the A-Z of the current political divide, which “is not between Republicans and Democrats. It’s between democracy and oligarchy. Hearing and using the same old labels prevents most people from noticing they’re being shafted.” Americans must come to understand the system and where the status quo of concentrated power and privilege are most entrenched. They must also comprehend the corrosive relationship between great wealth and great power.

Big money in politics helps them continue corporate welfare, crony capitalism, expand monopolies, and suppress votes. It weakens any countervailing power that unions, employee-owned corporations, or worker co-ops might use to generate grassroots politics. Lawmakers listen only to the policy demands of big business and wealthy individuals using a cadre of corporate chiefs, their legal and financial consultants, and government relations staffers who find willing enablers in the legislative bodies and the media. With enough distractions, the current president (Biden) will aid and abet these actions in the guise of draining the swamp. If wealth continues to concentrate at the top, it will be impossible to contain the corrupting influence of big money.

It seems Professor Reich’s main solution is for millions to be organized and energized, not just for a particular election but to reclaim democracy so an abundance of good policies are possible.

Reich seems to be nicely asking Mr. Dimon (and associates) to sacrifice share prices and their own increased pay that’s tied to it; sacrifice (with higher taxes) in order to allow communities that need the higher tax revenue to pay for schools, roads, clean water, and social services.  In other words, reduce their power by drafting legislation that binds every major corporation to require seating worker representatives on their board of directors (similar to ideas forwarded by Ralph Nader and associates in the early 1970s), mandate shares of stock for workers, recognize unions when the workforce majority wants one, and give communities a say before corporations abandon town. Reich is also asking these quasi-legislators to treat the environment as their largest stakeholder because after all, a bad environment is equally bad for stakeholders.

Personally, I am not moved by Professor Reich’s appeal to Mr. Dimon and his Business Roundtable to engage in conscious actions and activities, since they are convinced that nothing is wrong with the system. The stark reality is that these enablers do not consider themselves bought or bribed. Their greedy pursuits are justified as they multiply dollars so they can then engage in great and wonderful philanthropic things. They echo John D. Rockefeller’s declaration during the second period of oligarchy dominance, “having been endowed with the gift I possess, I believe it is my duty to make money and still more money and to use the money I make for the good of my fellow man according to the dictates of my conscience.”

Analogous to an apology tour, Reich’s “fix” is nothing more than an appeal to their consciousness. Speculating that individual members of this established ruling class would find consciousness and do the right thing seems more like a bitter professor’s empty rallying cry. It merely reveals a lack of understanding of the how business works and what motivations are necessary for the “businessman” to thrive.

I expected, and could not agree more, that Reich would make an appeal for citizens to more actively participate, though this will be dramatically slowed by the recent pandemic crisis. “Some believe we elect politicians so the rest of us don’t have to be actively engaged in politics. Politics is their job. This view is plainly wrong.” Agreed, but asking people to suspend activities like arguably “less important (than engaging in politics) – swimming, crossword puzzles, cards or cooking, for example” was a reach. Especially with so many of us staying home, we do have to cook Professor.

Reich masks his distaste for third parties by almost rallying for them. “Unless one or both of the two major parties in the United States moves away from the established centers of political and economic power, a new party could unite the disaffected and anti-establishment elements of both major parties and give voice to the 90 percent of Americans who have been losing ground.”

Reich cites polls from 2017 and 2018 that show well over 57 percent of Americans want a third party. But he quickly dismisses any chance of that happening, “The American political system discourages strong third parties through winner-take-all rules that squeeze out insurgents, which is why third parties tend to drain off votes from the dominant party closest to them in ideology or voter preference.”

This is the reminder of my previous disagreements with the Professor, however this time he is not specifically accusing us independents as stealing votes which I criticized him for doing over the last several political contests when the Greens had a viable, articulate candidate in Dr. Jill Stein. The Democratic party’s regurgitation of the tired old excuses for losing elections being pinned on assertive actions by third parties runs off true Independents. This is one Democratic lie that severs my attempt at building an alliance with them, even if they do produce a worthy candidate. As my Green party allies state, “If you’re still a soldier in the Red vs. Blue War, they’ve got you right where they want you.”

Back to the positives. We are grateful that Professor Reich is calling for “an active engagement and commitment of vast numbers of Americans who are morally outraged by how far our economy and our democracy have strayed from our ideal and are committed to move beyond outrage to real reform. Possession of and the fundamental ideal of a fair and just society are/is gravely endangered – only protected by engaged citizens who know the truth and are willing to fight to reclaim our democracy.

The way to overcome oligarchy is for the rest of us to join together and win America back. This will require a multiracial, multiethnic coalition of working class, poor, and middle-class Americans fighting for democracy and against concentrated power and privilege, determined to rid politics of big money, end corporate welfare and crony capitalism, bust up monopolies, stop voter suppression, and strengthen the countervailing power of labor unions, employee-owned corporations, worker cooperatives, state and local banks, and grassroots politics.

“The agenda is neither right nor left. It is the bedrock for everything else America must do.”

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich is not an individual with whom I found much common ground over the years. Having served in a Democratic Administration, his well-publicized rants against his political opponents were background noise. But “The System” was a very articulated version of our present reality. It was written for all to be able to understand, and could serve as a stimulus to get the American public reinterested in politics.

Back in 1922 Walter Lippmann argued that the broad American public didn’t know or care much about public policy. Now however with the trumped-up divisions and assault on the Capitol in January 2021, that part of our history should not be repeated.


30 jan 21 @ 7:35 pm          Comments

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March 4, 2013

Let's Start Early - Who Should we Draft for 2016?









See full 2012 list here

2:46 pm edt          Comments


February 4, 2012

Two new groups catching my attention: DeMint Watch & Citizens Alliance


8:19 pm est          Comments

July 7, 2011

Draft Cain Founder Describes Herman's Meteoric Rise
Herman Cain has broken the business model of retail politics. I really find it humorous that the media, and political pundits have been hammering his unorthodox campaign. They just don't get it.

Consider the other candidates. They're defined by their handlers, press releases and advertisements. Their persona for the public is created. Their events and public appearances are carefully crafted to deliver a specific message that the media lazily reports on. Cain, in stark contrast, has been straight to the people.

In 2004, Cain had a campaign mantra "They Will Not Outwork Us". It is blatantly obvious that the campaign motto of 2004 is present in the campaign of 2012. Herman Cain is working the entire country to present himself and his message. It is working!

When we started, people laughed. Heck, some folks said I had a man crush on Cain. Nah, there was appreciation for Cain, but at the end of the day, he's a human being. The advances in networking technology have made it incredibly important to connect the message to the people. Facebook provides an unparalleled ability to ANY social networking site to broaden the message. It maximizes every event Cain goes to, every news story, every thought, comment, video and demographic.

In March, our volunteers were on hand for the Faith and Freedom Coalition event in Iowa. Reports to me were that the response was so overwhelming that other candidates spoke and immediately ducked out of the building and didn't engage their supporters. The following week, our supporters were on hand at Rep. Steve Kings Conservative Coalition event, delivering Cain a straw poll victory. The list of successes of our  network goes on and on.

We never solicited donations, we direct donors to Cain's campaign, yet we've built a network of more than 25,000 strong across the U.S. When people inquire about our organization and our activity I have to chuckle and tell them, "we're nothing, but a whole lot of nothing". What we evolve into remains to be seen. However, it is undeniable that has been the most successful "draft" effort ever assembled for a "potential candidate".

The entire apparatus of, now is completely autonomous of Herman Cain's campaign. It's like target shooting in the dark, but we've  been hitting bulls eyes every time.

I received an email from a soldier serving overseas just yesterday. It reminded me of why we started this network in the beginning. He wrote, "after I complete my tour of duty . I will join his team to help Mr. Cain
become our president 2013." 

Our purpose is simple, connect people.

<http://draftcain.files.wordpre​> Description: stats

Best Regards,

Maurice Atkinson
2:38 pm edt          Comments

June 17, 2011

Newt Gingrich Criticizes Departed Staffers, NBC News, For Bashing His Wife

[Jason Linkins] takes a  look back on how Gingrich began his defense of Callista:

    "She's the head of Gingrich Productions and has helped make seven different documentaries, one of which, about Pope John Paul II, was picked as one of the top three films by the Vatican this year about the pope. She chairs a foundation which has given away $800,000 to charities. And she's currently writing a children's book, in which Ellis the elephant introduces 5 to 8-year-olds to a sweet land of liberty, the history of America."

You see, while Gingrich is sort of saying that his old staff wanted to run an old-school campaign and that he wanted to mainly play with YouTube and Facebook and stuff, it seems pretty clear to me that "the Gingrich campaign" is less about an authentic run for the White House and more about a marketing campaign to monetize and synergize all of the Gingrich Family's lucrative side projects. It's been pretty apparent to me, this whole time, that this is what the Gingrich campaign has been built to do. Gingrich says, "Barack Obama stands for European secular socialism" and "We stand for American exceptionalism," and by the way, he has a book out on the former and a movie coming out on the latter, and he takes all major credit cards.

So let's remember that all this Callista-slagging, justified or not, is coming from a bunch of people who resent the fact that they spent all this time on a merchandizing project when they thought they were working on a political campaign and now feel that they look sort of stupid, the end.

Read whole piece in HuffPo.

1:47 pm edt          Comments

June 12, 2011

Johnson supporters push to get him in GOP debate


A senior adviser for Gary Johnson’s presidential campaign staff voiced opposition Friday to Johnson’s exclusion from Monday’s Republican presidential primary debate, and supporters placed full-page newspaper ads stating the former New Mexico governor should be given a place on the podium.

“Debates are supposed to be opportunities for the voters to see and hear credible candidates without all the trappings of handlers, poll numbers and name ID,” said Ron Nielson, the campaign adviser.

Some of that outrage is being expressed in the form of political advertisements. The full-page ads ran in the New Hampshire Union Leader and the Concord Monitor last Thursday and Friday respectively, and a newer version appears in this week’s New Hampshire Sunday News. The ads, placed by Kerry Welsh — a self-described entrepreneur and inventor from Ranchos Palos Verdes, Calif. — contend Johnson has in fact qualified for the debate, citing polling criteria. 

The New Hampshire Union Leader and its debate co-sponsors invited every candidate who met any one of the following three standards:

- An average of at least 2 percent voter approval in at least three national polls released in April by ABC, The Associated Press, Bloomberg, CBS, CNN, FOX, Gallup, Los Angeles Times, Marist, McClatchy, NBC, Newsweek, Pew, Quinnipiac, Reuters, USA Today or Time.

- An average of at least 2 percent in at least three national polls released in May by any of those organizations.

- An average of at least 2 percent in polls of New Hampshire voters conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center and released in May.

Organizers report that Johnson fell short, receiving no support in the Granite State in two local surveys conducted by UNH. 

Welsh and other supporters cite poll numbers they say show he met the 2 percent threshold:

- A May 27 CNN Opinion Research Corporation Poll that shows Johnson received 2 percent of the vote

- A May 26 Gallup Poll that shows Johnson with 3 percent of the vote

- And a May 4 Quinnipiac Poll that shows Johnson at 1 percent.

Welsh says if you add up the numbers from those three polls, Johnson receives an average of 2 percent of the vote.

But organizers point out that one of those polls featured language that excluded two potential GOP candidates, asking voters whom they would support if certain candidates, such as former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, were dropped from consideration.

Charlie Perkins of North Village Media, a debate organizer and former news executive at the Union Leader, said: “The debate is open to unannounced potential candidates who have significant public support. Therefore, invitations could not be based on restrictive polling that excluded those names. In unrestricted polling, Johnson’s average in the three surveys cited by Welsh and other Johnson supporters was 1.33 percent, not 2 percent.”

Last week, Perkins and other organizers defended the criteria, saying that without using polling results as a standard, there would be no objective way to determine who among the field of 144 presidential prospects who have already filed with the Federal Election Commission should receive invitations.
Kerry Welsh said:

Thank for the story. You even spelled my name right. Let me say that Mr. Perkins' comments are disingenuous at best. 

Many of the polls did not mention Rudy Giuliani's name, including the May Gallup Poll. The results of those polls were accepted by the sponsors.

In fact, none of the polls listed the exact same candidates as another poll, as there are too many 'potential' candidates out there for any kind of uniformity amongst the polls.

The sponsors now claim that the CNN and Gallup polls are not legitimate, even though they both accurately list all the current candidates.

At best the debate sponsors are splitting hairs here, and that is just plain wrong. 

If there is any question as to whether Governor Johnson's has qualified, then the sponsors should have erred on the side of inclusion and allowed the most successful and most fiscally conservative governor in modern US history to participate in this early season debate.

Hope y'all enjoy my ad in Sunday's paper!


--Kerry Welsh 
4:49 am edt          Comments

March 24, 2011

Worth the watch: Rand Paul on Reason TV

Interview Excerpt...


Issues are more important than party. There are a lot of people out there who want somebody who believes passionately in small limited constitutional government. People want to be left alone from the nanny state. But they are not all republican, some of them are independent, some libertarian, some may be Democrats as well.

You see polls where people say they don’t like the rhetoric or partisanship. What they don’t like is ‘empty partisanship’. They don’t mind if we disagree on an issue. I don’t think they mind us having a spirited discussion on the issues, they don’t like us to yell. But what they don’t want is me disliking you just because you are a democrat or a libertarian.

They want me to engage on issues. So it is more important what the issues are than what any party wants. I agree with the tea party in dishing out equal parts chastisement to both parties because both parties have let us down on spending and debt. - Senator Rand Paul


9:03 am edt          Comments

March 16, 2011

Better way to create jobs.

by Gary Johnson, former Governor New Mexico

I have a better idea. As a businessman and as one who talks every day with employers and entrepreneurs, I am absolutely convinced that one fundamental change to the tax code will create more jobs more quickly than all the so-called stimulus President Obama has ever dreamed of: Eliminate the corporate income tax.


9:52 am edt          Comments

February 22, 2011

Judge Napolitano highlights this so-called tea-inspired congress failings - ALREADY

Extending the most unconstitutional provisions of the PATRIOT Act.


1:53 pm est          Comments

February 9, 2011

Gary Johnson Addresses CPAC Friday morning

Posted by Mark Halperin on The Page

Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico has been invited by CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference), to speak at their 2011 conference on Friday, February 11th at 9:30am.

Ron Nielson, a longtime Johnson strategist and consultant, says that Governor Johnson is consistently heralded as a true fiscal conservative.

Nielson states. “As Governor of New Mexico, he eliminated the State’s budget deficit and cut the rate of growth in state government in half. Additionally, for the past several months, he has continued to emphasize the danger of our federal debt, and how it poses the greatest single threat to our national security.”

12:26 pm est          Comments

January 31, 2011

Ron Paul only GOP presidential contender addressing Egyptian crises
Ron Paul on Aid to Egypt

Ron Paul has been a persistent critic of foreign aid including aid to Egypt. For example, in 2009, he spoke out against aid to Egypt and to the IMF that provides aid to Egypt. He opposed a–

“$108 billion loan guarantee to the International Monetary Fund, allowing that destructive organization to continue spending taxpayer money to prop up corrupt elites and promote harmful economic policies overseas.



“As Americans struggle through the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, this emergency supplemental appropriations bill sends billions of dollars overseas as foreign aid. Included in this appropriation is $660 million for Gaza, $555 million for Israel, $310 million for Egypt, $300 million for Jordan, and $420 million for Mexico. Some $889 million will be sent to the United Nations for ‘peacekeeping’ missions. Almost one billion dollars will be sent overseas to address the global financial crisis outside our borders and nearly $8 billion will be spent to address a “potential pandemic flu.’”

Other GOP presidential contenders are mainly hiding from the Egyptian crisis but I will keep you posted after they figure put what their positions are.

8:29 am est          Comments



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Americans for Fair Taxation

Diane Blais for Congress 2014

Gerard Blais for Congress 2014

Elaine Hildbrandt for Congress 2014

Col. Jim Leslie for Delegate 2009 & 2013 (VA)

Terry Modglin for Delegate 2013 (VA)

Jeannemarie Davis for Lt. Governor 2013 (VA)

Ken Hildebrandt for Congress (VA 2012 & 14)

Floyd Bayne for Congress (VA 10 & 12)

Karen Kwiatkowski for Congress 2012 (VA)

Imperato for President 2008 / for Florida Governor 2010

Hagler for Council (DC)

Joseph Oddo for Congress (VA 04, 06 & 08)

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Gail for Rail for Congress (VA 2010, 12 & 14)

Parker for Delegate 2013

Committee to Draft Michael Bloomberg 2006 - 2020

Nader for President (04 & 08)

Kent Mesplay for President 2004

Virginia Bill of Rights Coalition


Joseph Oddo
Certified Sales Manager, Writer, Business Operations & Political Campaign Director

Three time ballot certified candidate for congress.
Co-Founder and Director Joseph Oddo formed a writing and political/sales consulting practice in 2002. He is a three-time ballot certified candidate for congress and founder of a number of political advocacy organizations including Independent America, the Independent Greens of Virginia and the Citizens Alliance for Better Candidates. He has served in many capacities with local charitable and service organizations. A Public Policy major from Penn State, he spent over twenty years in sales management. Oddo is a church member, volunteer DJ at public radio WTJU, volunteer host GreenTV public television, and a Friend of the Library.




Joseph Oddo delivering speech during the 2006 campaign.

- Available for surrogate or spokesman role.

 Transcript of five minute News8TV taping.

Joe Oddo, Independent Candidate, US House of Representatives

Oct 6, 2006

A patriot must always be ready to defend his country from his government.

I’m Joe Oddo, Independent Green candidate running for Congress and I encourage you to get involved. To run for office. To insist we be allowed in the debates. To fix our democracy. And stop the mudslingin

I believe in expanding civic participation by fixing election rules and instituting universal registration. Anyone that shows up at the right polling place with their official ID should be able to register and vote on the spot.

Plus we should expand the hours of Election Day, or make it a holiday so everyone can take off work to cast their vote.

Our team of Independents have spent weeks out in all weather extremes to qualify to make the ballot. We talked to over 150,000 Virginians who understand the need for Independent voices. And by listening to your concerns, we have formulated a sound platform that addresses diverse issues like lobby reform and term limits.

Together with our statewide candidate for the US Senate Gail “for Rail” Parker, we propose Rail Now solutions. More Trains Less Traffic. We need hi-speed Rail from Danville to Charlottesville, from Charlottesville to Richmond, and on to Washington. Modern high-speed rail utilizes existing right-of-ways. We can run elevated rail right along I-64 and Rt. 29 with minimal disturbance. It is the time to develop alternative energy solutions, and end our dependence on oil.

We must pay closer attention to how government spends OUR money, and to ensure that it is on realistic, long-term solutions. So one of our initiatives is to solve the fiscal crises in our federal budget. We need a balanced budget now. We can to pay off the federal debt in five years. And we can fix the tax code for real tax cuts, not credit card advances.

We are more conservative than our opponents. There is nothing compassionate or conservative in military adventurism. This administration promotes addiction to a new drug called fear. We no longer face facts. We prefer to fabricate them. We lost over 3,000 young American soldiers since Nine Eleven.

Why? For war industry profits. Everyone knows it. One of every four tax dollars are being spent at the Defense Department. From their own report, billions are being mismanaged through "improper payments". And this Congress has been complicit and needs replaced.

We can fix Pentagon waste with an auditable accounting system so we know where our money is going. We can save $2 Billion a week by withdrawing from Iraq. We can save Billions more by closing bases in Germany and Japan. And Billions more by scrapping useless weapons programs.

Now I ask you, what real liberal or conservative would ever sanction the Patriot Act, or NSA domestic spying? Why should we give away rights guaranteed by the Constitution now? They served us well for the multitude of threats we defeated during the last 230 years.

Now it’s: be afraid. Be very afraid. Don’t worry about your tax dollars going to campaign contributors through no-bid contracts. Don’t pay attention while they strip away our rights, or rob our Treasury blind.

We won’t hear them say: War as a foreign policy of the United States is wrong. Peace is the answer. Nonviolence is the answer.

We can protest all we want. We can editorialize, we can lobby, we can strike, we can boycott, we can hold endless numbers of meetings. This only gets us so far. If we are going to accomplish real change in government, then we have to resort to action. The only real action against apathy is to get on the ballot and run for office.

Now is our chance to restore the optimism and promise of a world for all to live in peace. Join us as an independent - not bought and paid for by corporate rulers.

We run on positive issues. We listen. We do not sling mud.

Because I am an optimist, I offer solutions that the two parties will not address. Please Join us. Our Web site is Please Vote Oddo on November 7th.



Join our team of Citizen Advisers...


Tammy Parada

Certified Political Action Committee Director


Tammy Parada- Senior Consultant Mid Atlantic Region, Open Market Research

Entering the political communications and fundraising arena in 2005, Tammy Parada became Political Action Committee (PAC) Associate Director for the Virginia Medical Political Action Committee (VAMPAC).  Under her direction, VAMPAC garnered record contributions, exceeding $365,000 annually.  As government affairs coordinator for the state medical society, Parada also offered contributing coordination in board and committee management, grassroots and advocacy efforts, legislative event planning, constituent communications, and health care policy campaigns.

Parada excels in strategic development and political efficacy when it comes to her design and implementation of political campaigns.  She recently managed Floyd Bayne's independent congressional campaign (VA CD-7) garnering more votes than any other independent candidate in the state and forcing the incumbent to spend more money per vote than during previous elections, ending the race with the lowest vote count yet.  Parada works closely with local, state and congressional candidates in Mid Atlantic states providing a vast array of campaign services.

Parada currently serves as Chief Bill Tracker for Virginia’s 10th Amendment Coalition.  Simultaneously, Parada serves on the Legislative Committee for a statewide constituent advocacy organization.  Parada is the Capitol Region Director forVirginia Conservative Party’s Board of Directors.


Jabari Zakiya 
DC Coordinator
Jabari Zakiya is a Certified FairTax Advocate with intelligently radical political positions. He has served on the community board for WPFW Pacific radio in Washington, DC. He is a professional tutor, writer and adviser to community organizations in the District of Columbia. Read his piece entitled "Why We Need the FairTax" here
You can contact Jabari by e-mail

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Other writing expertise includes: Advertisements  - -  Annual reports  - -  Biographies  - -  Book editing  - -  Business and e-mail correspondence  - -  Business plans  - -  Brochures and catalogs  - -  Comprehensive research  - -  Custom reports  - - Foundation proposals  - -  Ghostwriting  - -  Grant writing  - -  Marketing strategy  - -  Political campaign plans  - -  PowerPoint presentations  - - Public Policy position papers  - -  Press releases and kits  - -  Product descriptions  - -  Sales training material  - -  Speeches  - - Trade articles  - -  Web site content  - -  and much more.




This is how we tracked prospective 2012 challengers to President Obama.
Should Obama be primaried in his own party?
Should two prospects team up to run independent?
Who would you move in this grid? 





Far Right


Ralph Nader

Russ Feingold

Michael Bloomberg

Gary Johnson

Herman Cain

Mitch Daniels

Cynthia McKinney

Mike Gravel

Mitt Romney

Joe Scarborough

Sarah Palin

Jesse Ventura

Dennis Kucinich

Elizabeth Warren

Mark Warner

Andrew Napolitano

Steve King

Lou Dobbs

Bernie Sanders

Hillary Clinton

John Bolton

Ron Paul

Jim DeMint

Dan Corceri

Alan Grayson

Howard Dean

Jeb Bush

Haley Barbour

Alan Keyes

Condoleezza Rice

 Kent Mesplay

Matt Gonzalez

Bob Corker

John Thune

Mike Pence

Keith Olbermann


Tim Kaine

Bobby Jindal

Tim Pawlenty

Rick Perry


Evan Bayh

K. Bailey Hutchinson

Jon Huntsman

Michele Bachmann




Lincoln Chafee

Rick Snyder

Rick Santorum




George Pataki

Scott Brown

Chuck Baldwin




Sam Brownback

Chris Christie

Newt Gingrich





Mike Huckabee

 Paul Ryan





Discuss where these candidates stand on the political spectrum. Post your take on who is up and who is out...















Far Right







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Citizens Alliance for Better Candidtates
Draft and Exploratory Political Campaign Services

Stood for Congress in 2012. 
Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, Retired


 The Citizen’s Alliance is a political action committee (PAC) established to provide citizens with a unified voice to their elected officials. Incumbents running for reelection and prospective candidates for federal office will be presented with a questionnaire. Voters can evaluate their responses and make a selection based on interactive participation. It is our objective to have responses in all 435 congressional districts in 2012. We urge nominees of the all political parties to open up the dialogue, be accountable, and fully engage in debates with all opponents including independents to inform voters and give fair voice to all willing to run for office.

The Citizen’s Alliance is committed to a better functioning American Republic based on freedom and security. Our grassroots efforts will empower citizens to take a personal interest in the operation of their government. Our mission is to recruit candidates, engage citizens, and organize a massive nationwide grassroots team to spur higher turnout and elected official accountability. It is time to force our elected officials to provide real answers. Too often they dodge, spin and exclude challengers. And if that is not enough, they impose new restrictions on participating - especially directed at any challenges outside of the titanic party duopoly.

Citizens Alliance for Better Candidates