Tag: voting

about getting out and voting

We didn’t have anything to vote about

here in Carlsbad this round.

But 2010 will be different.

I could easily run for city council in Carlsbad, New Mexico, and win.

Last time we had a city council election, my ward had no formal candidate. One guy was a write in and he won with 90 votes or so. If I’d ran, and gotten my name on the ballot, I likely would have won because of name recognition, etc.

I thought about that for a long time after it went down. I had no idea that the level of involvement here was so slight.

I live in the north end of the barrio. My neighborhood is a mixed bag, racially. I’m not close to any of the people here, but they don’t give me any trouble, either. We’re all pretty good about keeping out of each other’s hair on my street.

There are maybe 25,000 people in Carlsbad.

The guy who has been mayor for many years finally has run into the term limit wall.

I know I should get off my lazy cowardly butt and get in these people’s faces and run for City Council.

But they scare the shit out of me. They are so indirect and weird and different and entrenched.

I think a lot of stuff is up for grabs in 2010. Not sure. They don’t like to advertise that sort of thing around here.

But I also know that I could become a member of the City Council of Carlsbad, NM, as a representative of my ward, if I put some energy into it.

There are people here would would ruin my life if it suited them, just to keep me out of the way.

But they could do it anyway, I guess.

Should I run for City Council next time the opportunity arises? I could easily win this, and if I won it, I know myself well enough to be very clear that I would get really ornery if I got some cats in my face about how I should just get along with the program.

Please give me advice. All of you. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. They don’t pay city council members here more than a pittance. That doesn’t matter, it would not be about money for me. If I am to try to do this, how do I start?

Thank you.


The “No” vote at Ford

Original article via World Socialist Web Site:

The decisive vote by Ford workers to reject the concessions contract worked out between the company and the United Auto Workers is a major advance not only for Ford workers, but for all auto workers and the working class as a whole, both in the US and internationally.

Video: Ford workers speak out against concessions contract

Original here: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2…

The New American System is Much Like the Old

One-hundred and eighty-one years ago, this nation was engaged in similar debate over similar issues.  A recently elected Democratic president by the name of Andrew Jackson had won the office by vowing to uphold the rights of the people, not the small circle of well-connected and powerful brokers that had run Capitol Hill for close to a quarter of a century.  Had there been highways then, or, for that matter, cars, one might have dubbed these new money, self-proclaimed, unapologetic aristocrats the Beltway elites.  Jackson’s election was nothing less than an abomination to these sorts, since they placed no faith, nor any trust in what they considered to be the under-educated, ill-informed grumblings of the partisan rabble.  Government of the people, by the elites was their governing philosophy, and it had gone unchallenged since the beginning of the Republic.    

Though Old Hickory sought to carry the banner of the common person, this didn’t necessarily mean he supported progressive reform in all of its incarnations.  

…Jackson fretted about what were drily known as internal improvements–projected roads and canals that were to be funded by the federal government.  The issue was at the heart of a philosophical argument.  Was Washington’s role to be a limited one, leaving such matters to the states except in truly national cases, or was the federal government to be a catalyst in what was know as “the American System,” in which tariffs and the sales of public land funded federally sponsored internal improvements?  As President, Jackson favored the former, John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay the latter.  Related, in Jackson’s mind, was the issue of the national debt (the money owed by the federal government).  To him, debt was dangerous, for debt put money in the hands of creditors–and if money was in the hands of creditors, it could not be in the hands of the people, where Jackson believed it belonged. (Bold mine)

American Lion:  Andrew Jackson in the White House by John Meachum

A true son of the South, Jackson was understandably squeamish to impose too much federal authority upon state government, even if it promised desperately needed infrastructure to industrialize and modernize a country which was still largely agrarian and rural.  However, his reluctance to take on debt for any purpose, no matter how worthy, is not the same sort cited by Republican politicians of our day.  Perhaps the question we ought to ask ourselves in age is “Who holds our debt and do they have our own best interest at heart?”  Jackson did not live in an age where globalization had complicated and expanded monetary policy to the degree that foreign investors were heavily involved in the process;  he did, however, hold an oversimplified point of view that saw money as belonging either to the moneychangers or the people with no overlap in between.  Today’s GOP eagerly sounds the warning regarding our spiraling national debt but certainly has no credible plan, nor plausible solution that would place it firmly in the hands of their primary constituents.  If such a thing were proposed by a Democrat, Republicans would surely claim that doing so would “spread the wealth around” in a radical redistribution scheme that, once enacted would destroy the country’s economic structure.    

Meanwhile, we have now commenced with hand-wringing in response to a less active electorate this time around.  The below passage disproves the idea that fickle and transitory voter participation is unique purely to our day.  

A Scottish visitor to Albany in the late 1820s noted an American love of what he called “the spirit of electioneering, which seems to enter as an essential ingredient into the composition of everything.”  But it was a highly personal kind of electioneering:  “The Americans, as it appears to me, are infinitely more occupied about bringing in a given candidate, than they are about the advancement of those measures of which he is conceived to be the supporter.” (Bold mine.)  


We love the chase but then quickly lose interest with the implementation stage.  Media saturation, short attention spans, rock star politics, and all the other theories currently proposed that aim to explain why voter participation and interest is down from its height of this time last year might be simply explained as Americans acting like Americans.  To be sure, activists never lose their focus or their drive, but most of us are not activists.  Jackson was one of the first politicians to whittle down complex issues for the easy digestion of the average citizen.  Had there been television in his day, one might have called them sound bytes.  This, of course, oversimplified often contentious and complicated policy decisions, but Jackson’s belief was that the American worker had no time to devote from his busy day for in-depth political study and contemplation.  This assertion is one that frequently frustrates activists of our times—who demand larger participation but recognize too that the time and energy commitment needed to push reform is often more than many people are willing or able to devote.        

Regarding Presidential strategy, Jackson was cautious not to box himself in, even though this left him open to charges of playing politics when candor and taking a firm stand might seem to be a better strategy.  An immensely popular President upon taking office, he had a knack for strategic positioning and a marked refusal to provide his enemies an easy target, likely due in part to his years as a military man.  It was also a response to the well-known fact that the General had more than a few enemies in high places who coveted his office for themselves and would use any means necessary to achieve it.  

[Jackson’s] first inaugural…was purposely vague.  Gazing out on the admirers gathered at the foot of the Capitol steps, Jackson saw that he was the object of wide affection—but he was not yet certain of the depth of that affection.  The people hailed him today but might not tomorrow.  Better, then, to proceed with care, to be general rather than specific, universal rather than particular—for specificity and particularity would give his foes weapons to use against him.  Many leaders would have been seduced by the roar of that crowd, lulled into thinking themselves infallible, or omnipotent, or secure in the love of their followers.  

But Jackson knew that politics, like emotion, is not static.  There would be times where he would have to tell people what they did not want to hear, press a case they did not want to accept, point them in a direction they would prefer not to go.  Best, then, to preserve capital to spend on those speeches and those battles.

(Bold mine.)


President Obama is fortunate that the relative weakness of the Republican party and the still ample approval among those in his own party do not leave him vulnerable to direct challenges to his authority as Chief Executive.  Unlike Jackson, he does not relish making enemies and in so doing, challenging them to duels.  Some of us would prefer a President cut from that same cloth, though I do note that nothing unifies otherwise disparate elements only tangentially related to each other more than a common enemy.  This course of action does not make for theatrical governance or high drama, certainly, but perhaps the boring way is the best way.  Any President is compelled to occasionally be the bearer of bad tidings, the purveyor of necessary, but unpopular policy, and the leader pointing the way against a headwind of reluctance and even stubborn refusal.  The more change one pushes for, the more one must assume such mantles.  Many will feel short-changed, disregarded, and under-represented in the process.  Lament it, if you will, but be sure to acknowledge the substantial challenges that face those who attempt its removal.  This New American System combined with a still very New American President might not require as much patience as it does a fundamental understanding of the balancing act and slight-of-hand required of any politician.  Our response never changes, but what does change is how quickly we forget that these struggles are not exactly unique to our times.  

Baucus is only the Symptom of a much more Chronic Condition

Did you Vote for Change?

for Accountability; for leveling the playing field; for National Health Care?

Well, your vote apparently doesn’t carry as much weight as it use to.

Here’s one of the main reasons why:

U.S. Democracy Under Siege — Senate Debate Excerpts

Excerpts from the Congressional Record of the October 14, 1999 Senate debate.

The following is a tabulation, for clarity, of the figures cited by Mr. Feingold:

1980 1992 1996
Total soft money contributions to parties ($millions) under 20 86 about 250
# of donors giving over $200,000 52 219
# of donors giving over $300,000 20 120
# of donors giving over $400,000 13 79
# of donors giving over $500,000 9 50
# of companies giving over $150,000 to each of the political parties (“double givers”) 7 43

 (emphasis added)


There has been a tidal wave taking place, that threatens to swamp our fragile system of Democracy.  Indeed it probably already has …

Goddamn right, it’s a beautiful day….uh huh!

Posted a rant yesterday, about the little journey between the hills of hope and fear that many of us have been going through, even as all polls seem to suggest a clear cut Obama victory today. I didn’t mention one particular fear, though, because I’m not sure it had crystallized fully at the time I wrote that mess up. It’s a little darker than the thoughts I did mention, and even now I hesitate to mention it, because, in the light of day, it seems ridiculous.

But for a tiny bit there, yesterday, I wondered whether I might die in the night, before I had a chance to vote for Barack Obama for president.

I Wanted to Stand In Line for Hours and Hours

At first I planned to go to the polls at 10:15am, hoping I would wind up in some endless line, fearing that our local NJ polling spot would be its usual efficient self, and there would be maybe twice the usual number of stragglers there that I’ve usually found when I hit the polls mid-morning, after the pre-work crush — our polls open at 6:00 and the lines usually thin out sometime after 9:00 or 9:30, when most of the wage slaves have gone to work.

But I just couldn’t get to sleep, and found myself obsessing through the night, replaying Rachel Maddow bits, obsessively updating running comment fests that got started days ago in an effort to ease anxieties or allow me to obsess about other factors beyond the election.

I was still awake at 4:30 am, when I decided I wanted a crowd, I wanted to see others no matter what, and I wanted to know there were others doing what I was doing. I also wanted to be among the first to vote for perhaps the first Presidential candidate I can recall, where I was mostly voting for him, and not just voting against some heartless or dangerous loon.   It’s been a long time in the Wilderness — I’ve voted in every Presidential election and nearly every “off-year”, school board and special ballot election that I’ve been eligible for, since I turned 18, at college, in 1977.

A Quick One Re Election Voting — Important!

Here is just one example of some of the stuff that’s gone on and there’s plenty more.

Obama Attorney Says Voters Don’t Want to Hear About Election Fraud

Submitted by davidswanson on Mon, 2008-11-03 02:03. Elections

Sadly, this is not a joke:

Democrats Continue to Defend Their Indefensible Election Protection Efforts; Still in Denial, Obama’s Attorney Describes Serious Concerns About Voting Machines and More as ‘Hyperbole’

Never mind this:

And, of course, BradBlog has more on the voting issues!

So, just on the offhand chance . . . . . . ! I can’t even say it!

Please go to AfrerDowningStreet  — if you are not registered, please register (there’s no wait, as I recall), Log In, then go to DO NOT CONCEDE

To add your name, register, log in, and sign the petition.

An Open Letter to Senator Obama and the Democratic Leadership:

On Election Night, DO NOT CONCEDE!

“Eight years is too much” is how Barack Obama explained why we must win the coming election and begin to restore America. But, even if we receive the most votes, will we win the election?


Both of the last two elections were conceded by the Democratic presidential candidate. The 2004 election was handed to George Bush while votes were still being counted in closely-fought Ohio. While the 2000 election was contested to the Supreme Court, it too was ultimately conceded to Bush “for the good of the country.”

Some good.

Numerous politicians, investigators and authors, including Robert Kennedy, Jr., agree the 2004 election was stolen, not only in Ohio but in several other battleground states. Tactics included purging of legitimate voters and the use of nefarious voting software–but when even these actions did not yield the required numbers, Republican election officials simply changed the vote tallies in several states, all without a peep from the Democratic Party. . . .

A good idea, too, would be to send these links to everyone you know.  Get this populated!  


GOTV Exercise – Through the Eyes of Others

Oddly enough, researchers at Ohio State University have discovered a simple means of increasing voter participation.  I encourage anyone and everyone who has not yet voted to perform this simple technique…call it the scientific version of knocking on wood.

Visual Imagery Technique Boosts Voting, Study Finds

Registered voters who used a simple visual imagery technique the evening before the 2004 election were significantly more likely to vote the next day, a new study found.

Science Daily

Participate in Election Research

On behalf of a research team from the Psychology Department at New York University, I am posting this announcement. They are looking for volunteers to take an online survey about political attitudes and voting behavior.    

Here is the link to the survey:  

NYU Psych Survey

On that page you will find more information about the study.  

If you agree to be in this study, you will be asked to do the following:

1) Complete a questionnaire about your background (age, gender, education, etc.)

2) Report your opinions on various political and social issues and rate how important those issues are to you

3) Evaluate the Presidential candidates (Obama and McCain) on a number of traits and positions

We are interested in learning about your opinions throughout the course of the election, so we also ask you to participate in three bimonthly follow-up surveys that will be shorter but similar in content to the one you are about to complete. You are not required to do the follow-up surveys if you complete this survey, but we encourage you to do so.

Participation in the first session of this study will involve 15-20 minutes of your time. If you agree to participate in the follow-up surveys, each will take an additional 15 minutes. The total time for participation in all four biweekly survey sessions will not exceed an hour.

Also, if you participate in the followup surveys you can win $100.  

If you choose to provide your contact information (your email address), you will entered into a random drawing for 2 prizes of $100 for participating in the survey; if you withdraw before the end of the study, you will not be entered into the drawing. You will be entered into new drawing for $100 each time you complete a follow-up survey (up to four times total).

If you have questions about the survey or your participation they include contact info on that page as well.  

By request I am turning off the comments for this essay. They don’t want the sample to be biased by people talking about the survey here.    

Discussion: Voting Problems

State Officials, Attorneys Prep for Possible Voting Problems

With a rush of early voters going to the polls, state officials are preparing for a strong voter turnout and lawyers are amassing in battleground states in case problems occur. Legal experts weigh the situation.

Read Transcript

Watch On Streaming Video

Listen To Discussion mp3

“I really question why we are not like other democracies. Most Western democracies, when you turn 18, you automatically are registered. You do not have to go through this entire process of tracking down, constantly registering, losing your registration if you move, all these problems. You become a permanent registrant in that country.”

How I Stole The Election: A Confession

Criminal masterminds come from the strangest places. Look at Harvey “Two Face” Dent. Or Lex Luthor. Or Cat Woman.

Well, you have a new name to add to that list: grannyhelen.

Sure, I may look mild-mannered. I’m a 40 year-old, stay-at-home mom of two young kids whose alias is a tribute to my own great-grandmother. I write about nonviolence and politics in between changing diapers and baking cookies. You’d see me on my walk with my two-year-old and never think to yourself: this is the woman who is rending the fabric of our Democracy.

But you’d be wrong.

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