To protect the people and secure their rights

Liberty and Democracy are not opposing ideas. The political center is where all change is made. Let's embrace reason and civility.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Saving American Democracy through Congressional District Organization

VIDEO:  (in production)

This video isn't about policy, it's about how to achieve policy. In my last video, I ended by saying that "government isn't the problem, corruption is the problem". I still believe this. It is my contention that if you want to "get the money out of politics", then we should take the money out of OUR politics.

I am proposing a national, independent, bi-partisan organization that can compete successfully in the Congressional primary and general elections. This national membership would be organized into CDO's (congressional district organizations) focused on recruiting and supporting district candidates.

Candidates with similar platforms could compete in the primaries of both parties within one district. In the event that both candidates won their primaries, then the voters would have an honest decision to make about who is the best speaker for them on the House floor. If only one candidate wins, then inroads have already been made into the other party to help swing votes in the general election.

We will require a national charter, some virtual infrastructure, and a declaration of principles to get us started. What those documents say, and what this virtual interface accomplishes for us, needs to be agreed upon by everone. The charter needs to define and secure Rights for all its members, and the influence of money in OUR politics needs to be removed.

Why the US Congressional District though? Why not state legislatures or even local governments?

America is the most powerful nation in the world, and the US Congress represents our nation. We are a democracy. We believe that political competition should be done with votes and not bullets. And exerting influence in the US House of Representatives makes policy relevant not only to America but to the world.

Congressional districs are highly gerrymandered into Blue, Red and "battleground" districts based on voter affiliation. In many districts like mine, there's at least a 2:1 ratio of one party to another.

Incumbent candidates have millions already in their campaign treasuries, and access to many millions more in "outside money". People don't have money, but the do have spare time, and that's what needs to be mobilized.

Democracy is a call for public participation. Active members need to form an organization they can trust to secure their own interests as members. Rather than spend millions on broadcasting and advertising, we reach out to neighbors, businesses and the community and get them organized. That's the plan.

Congressional districts consist of less than a million souls with about 500k registered to vote. A general election will draw between 250k and 350k votes total, and are won on margins of less than 10% or about 10k households. Most voters aren't directly involved in politics, but they do support the democratic process by voting and they are interested in the results.

Candidates are generally chosen in Primary Elections for both parties. The rules are set. We play by the rules of the game. Talk about alternative voting theory is fine, but it's fantasy and not politics. And it is the Primary where all the real fighting takes place anyway, where corruption really takes effect. (eg. Tea Party)

A CDO should be able to mobilize 100 active members supported by 1000 nominal members. Think about what 100 active members of a CDO could accomplish in just 2-3 hours on a weekend:

     10k fliers distributed in 2 hours
     1k signs put out or retrieved
     1k verified petition signatures for ballot access collected in 2 hours
     100 minimum attendence at a district convention or field event
     100 new voters registered
         ...along with 1000 houses receiving a business card with the national URL
     10 area meetings held support of candidates for state and local office

"Will it be enough?" I think so, based on certain sociological principles I've picked up over the years.

First, there's the 10% principle that a population will adopt a new idea if it can be accepted past this 10% "tipping point". This is half of the 20% ratio that Chomsky referred to as the "political class", so it seems like a good number, say 50k votes.

We need half this number of votes to swing a primary election, and half again in the general election to cross party lines. We of course need to rely on our campaign effectiveness, and really only need 20% of these voters to be directly organized.

That's ten thousand voters. Organized in tiers of 10, that's 1000 nominal (national) members, 100 active district leaders, and 10 candidates and staff. And if we can do this in one district, we can do it in every district in the country.

Anyway, that's the outline of my political strategy. I'll do policy videos and stuff later.

Whatever policy we agree upon, hopefully we'll take action to achieve that policy-- to call for public participation as voters, members, leaders and candidates. We can bring the voice of Liberty and Democracy back to Congress, to our Nation, and to the world. Together, we can save America.


follow up article based on my previous blog post:

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Third Party Option: Pros and Cons

There are practical reasons for either joining or rejecting the third party option as a venue for political action. Having been in a third party all my life, I can tell you that they cannot succeed in winning even one US Congressional district. It has nothing to do with the message. It's just an issue of simple math.

Following is a list I've made of Pros and Cons for your consideration:


  1. Third Parties are Platform Driven. The R/D platforms are irrelevant to major party candidates. Their platforms are a reflection of the deals each party has made to the many factions they represent. A third party uses its platform to recruit leaders and direct their candidates toward a common goal.

  2. Decentralized Authority. The by-laws and charters of Third Parties are usually designed to minimize central authority beyond a reverence for the platform. If outside investors "take" the party, they only get title and not the membership.

  3. Leadership Training. Running for office is good experience for local citizens, and a third party is fine for that.

  4. Ballot Positioning. In PA (and other states I'm sure), third parties are not part of the primary process and have their own rules for ballot access. This can be a major advantage for getting members elected and serving in local office. (Most third parties, however, have no focus at all on local government, rather toward national issues). The major parties will not cover all races with a candidate, allowing third parties to pick and choose their races after the primaries, and leading to 1:1 or even unopposed races.


  1. Ballot Access. This will consume the majority of the campaign season and resources. Each state has its own BA requirements. Pennsylvania is one of the more draconian states, and the R/D parties routinely challenge petitions, personally threatening the candidates with legal fees of over $150k. 50-state BA is nearly impossible.

  2. Media Access. Most newspapers will be nice to you and give you a write-up or even an editorial comment, but the press is motivated by advertising. National television will black out third party races and televised debates will generally not include you.

  3. Straight-party voting. Where voters can simply vote Party, as many as 30% of votes cast will go R/D leaving your candidate to pull 50% from the remaining 70%. This makes victory a mathematical improbability. I've seen one candidate get close in a 1:1 race with 44%, which was overwhelming support from the community, but the straight party vote was simply too large a hurdle.

  4. Limited Resources. A third party generally doesn't raise money from lobbies or civic groups, and has to rely on member donations. My US Congressman had 2 million in his war chest before the race even started, here in a district of a half-million souls. If 5000 people contributed $20, that would be incredible right? But that's only $100k, peanuts when it comes to media saturation campaigns.

  5. Resistant to Growth. As a third party is platform-driven, so an inner circle will develop to contain the platform and keep the party "pure" as it grows. The party seeks true believers and concentrates on internal education. Conventions usually degenerate over factionalism, and disgruntled activists will be disruptive. They demand a "controlled growth". I tried to remedy this in the LPPA with a brief statement of 10 principles that would have no public objection and would allow candidates to set their own personal platforms, but the old guard radicals went ape and we spent the next three years fighting instead of three years growing. Now the radicals control the party again, and it's dead here in PA.

  6. Vulnerable to Hostile Takeover. Every third party has a charter of by-laws defining what is necessary to take that party over. The old guard is able to keep the party from growing (big fish in little pond), but this is its weakness should a concerted effort be mounted to seize title of the party. Recruiting 50 people to attend a state convention as delegates is a small affair given adequate cash and time.

  7. Infiltration. This is another concern, and I'm not saying this to be paranoid, just to be practical. Operatives from the R/D leadership will look at your party the same as they look at non-political civic groups, and will establish a contact within your organization. I don't know that this is necessarily a "con", but it is something to consider.
So the third party option really comes down to what you expect to accomplish with your own efforts.  If your focus is on feeling good about a platform and having some friends to talk about it all day, then the third party is fine.  It's almost like collaborative science fiction writing, because there is zero possibility of you or your party ever influencing the US Congress.

If, on the other hand, you want to push our federal government in one direction or the other, then begin by "occupying your precinct" and focus on the Primary elections.  Find candidates you can support and help them build confidence in the community.  Yes, the R/D parties are corrupt to the core, but that doesn't mean YOU have to be, nor does it mean that your candidates have to be either.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Benefits of Citizenship

Citizenship is a privilege.  This is how we define ourselves as "nations".  The idea of a democratic republic has been around for thousands of years, and is as old as the idea of Civilization itself.

As a Citizen, you should expect certain Benefits, as for any Membership in any society.  The right to vote, for instance, is a common benefit of citizenship.  If nothing, a Citizen should expect at least the rights of a Prisoner,  But citizenship should confer much more than just that, and to each of us equally:

I recommend the following:

1.  Universal health insurance, free from "payroll taxes";
2.  A clear Pension and Disability policy;
3.  Full tuition grants for education in academic or vocational curricula, based on merit;
4.  That county and municipal job services actually provide jobs in their local area, public service jobs if necessary, for anyone able and willing to work;
5.  That Federal block grants be used to fully fund county and municipal governments in conjunction with a single-tax, "revenue sharing" plan;
6.   ... something about general assistance
7.  .... to be continued.

That's as far as I've gotten.  Infrastructure and Civil Protection are the next big topics.  But what you see above is an outline of SPENDING issues.  It can't be considered a "Fiscal Policy" unless it includes the questions of Taxation and Banking.

I'm working on that.  I'll come back to this thread and edit it if I come up with anything.

What do you think so far?

I'm tired of the word "Patriotism" applying to crazy people.  This is America.  We live in a democratic republic, and there are those today who would corrupt that very same.  Strange too, because it is THEY who hide behind the Flag, claiming to represent the Spirit of '76 that defined the beginnings of a truly Progressive nation.

Right or wrong, America stood against Monarchy for 100 years and against "Communism" for another 100.  We find ourselves today SO corrupted by Money and Power that neither the Democracy nor the Republic it is intended to control has any real effect today.

The Coup is over.  It began with Reagan (Nixon actually, but ...), and it ended with Obama.  The next Presidential election will be for Emperor.  Mark my words.

The real fight this nation has is at the US Congressional District level.  What a game of Gerrymander was used to secure GOP dominance!  And the corruption of the Democratic Party is almost complete.  How many "progressives" are there, really, in our federal legislature today?

People aren't stupid.  They know there's a war on.  All this noise from the "right" has been everywhere, billions invested, with wimpy MSNBC push-back.  Honestly, I think Stephen Colbert is one of the few voices saving this Nation.  Think about it.  People don't want a revolution, they just want a better world.

Job opportunities, health care, pensions, education... these are the issues of "social welfare" that I believe should be universal to every US Citizen.  The are not the entirety of where government should "spend", but they are an essential part of it.

If you believe that the function of government is to "protect the people and secure their rights", then the expansion of Citizen Rights should be your definition of "success".  Life doesn't have to be as hard as it is for so many.  We don't have to endure poverty or injustice.  We, as a Nation, can provide certain Benefits to each and every Citizen, and that's what I intend to do.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Egypt, and the Quest for Sovereignty

Great events are unfolding in the world today, here at the crest of this great wave of humanity as it spreads over our entire planet and up, into the heavens. While I, here, in the comfort of a small home in western Pennsylvania, am not directly affected by these events, I do hold a great concern toward them, as I hope you do.

Modern geopolitics is now focused on Iran as the remaining centerpiece for Islamic theocracy.  Yet, the images of their presidential elections a few years ago shows a nation desiring and growing as a democratic republic. This is what the protests in Egypt are today, the largest protests in human history. They protest, not for the spread of some ideology.  They protest for Citizen Rights.

It's funny too, in a way.. Human civilization really hasn't been around all that long, not in the great scheme of things. Egypt was one of the early agrarian cultures to emerge from neolithic man. Sovereignty was extended over the Nile Valley some five thousand years ago and has remained, in one form or another, to this day.

The democratic republic, as a general model, has also been around for thousands of years. It too has evolved, and recently covers most of the land on the planet. This came to Egypt in 1952 just as it came to many nations in the wake of World War Two, and the people of Egypt have, for half a century, been part of a global, progressive community.

Now, in the year 2013, they have assembled by the millions, a full quarter of the population, to demand citizen rights. It is by citizen rights that the democratic republic defines and controls its own government, and the people want those rights.

The Egyptian military is neutral in all of this, being funded directly by NATO and the US Government. They are not shooting people in the streets, in spite of the overwhelming protests going on right now as I type. The protests against Mumbarik in 2011 are dwarfed by the protests, and counter-protests, toward the new Morsi regime.

So there you have it. A petition of 22 million Egyptian citizens want new, fair elections. They want citizen rights and they do not want to be ruled by a theocracy. They, like me sitting here in the comfort of my Pennsylvania home, just want peace and prosperity, liberty and justice, for all.

My opinion is that the UN should supervise elections in Egypt immediately, and should continue to support the Egyptian military as a neutral policing force that respects human rights. Representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood should have their seat at the table, but Morsi should not be backed by Iran or by the West by suppressing and corrupting the democratic process.

Liberty and democracy are not opposing ideas, they are two sides of the same coin, two principles of the democratic republic that should guide Egypt in their quest for sovereignty.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Kicking the Hornet's Nest

Conspiracy is fun.  Perhaps it's my conservative roots, perhaps it's just a natural reaction to a good ghost story.  And like a good ghost story, here's one you haven't heard yet:

In December of 2012, while we were all waiting for the end of the world, the Republican Party was in complete shambles.  Yes, they continued to control the US Congress, but they were divided and beaten.  It appeared that, perhaps, the beast of Austerity was finally slain, and America could breathe a sigh of relief.

Of course, that's not the situation now, just 3 months later.  For some unknown reason, the Democrats in the US Senate chose to pursue a list of social policies, including gun control, rather than issues that could have driven the Republicans into the ground, like Social Security, the Post Office, bank regulation, and ending the Bush tax cuts.

And instead of swinging America back to a moderate position, we now see conservatism even stronger than ever.  Instead of marginalizing the right-wing radicals, this latest string of Democratic initiatives has energized and empowered them.

Obama is caving on every single economic issue, he's championing our radical foreign policy, and he has fully left progressives in the dust.  These social issues are just an excuse to get everybody fighting again.  The Democratic Senate continues to issue bills that they know won't pass the House, but that don't challenge the grassroots support that the Republican House still retains.

And Austerity continues.

So, is this a conspiracy?  Reasonable people will weigh in on every issue that's put before them.  But who puts these issues before us?  Have you noticed that for the past 3 months, all that MSNBC wants to talk about is guns and gay rights?  I mean, sure, we all have opinions on that, and reason should prevail.  But is THAT the issue facing America that should be unifying us?

If you want to get rid of a hornet's nest, you don't go up to it and smack it with a stick first.  That's just stupid.  So either the secret masters behind this battle plan are stupid, or they're diabolical.

Help me uncover this grand conspiracy, this great betrayal.  There's no need to attack Social Security and Medicare, no reason to kill the Post Office, no reason to starve America into submission.  And there's no reason to empower your enemies with pokes and prods when such core issues are at stake.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Liberty, Democracy, and the Political Center

This blog began three years ago as part of a US Congressional race.  Recently, I created a YouTube video that caps off my activities in the Libertarian Party and explains why I can no longer support that organization any longer.  Please give it a watch.


I served for 30 years as an active member of the Libertarian Party,
and then another 3 years trying to re-brand the Pennsylvania chapter as a moderate, common sense and full-fledged political party.

Here in Pennsylvania, we soon limited the radicals by a new, simplified platform,
one that respected their extreme ideology but that would also accomodate
other moderate views... and therefore many more people.

Unfortunately, the radicals saw it as Heresy, and nothing was achieved in 2 years due to in-fighting and hack politics.

My only choice was to either surrender the party,
      or to stop negotiating and expel the radicals from the party altogether.
I chose to leave.

So, while I'm at the end of the story, let's move on to the beginning.

I joined Libertarian Party through the Clark Campaign in late 1979

I served as State Chair of the Delaware LP 81-85

And I ran for National Chair at the 1985 Phoenix Convention (where I carried 2 states)

In '89, I moved to western Pennsylvania to raise a family
 and served 4-years as an elected School Board Director

I rejoined the LP of Pennsylvania in 2009 where I came to serve as Secretary for a year, and managed to rally overwhelming support for a new, simplified and reasonable platform, only 10 statements long.

I also ran for US Congress in 2010 and received over 3% of the popular vote.

However, my platform wasn't the normal Libertarian Party BS you see today: 

I advocated single-payer medical insurance, which I justified from a libertarian perspective.

My motto was, "We don't need less government, we need better government"

And built my public statements on the assumption
   that Liberty and Democracy are NOT opposing ideas.

After the race, I started calling myself a "Progressive Libertarian".

I spent 3 years total in the LPPA trying to make it an inclusive, broad-based political party

However, the national Party is under complete policy control rooted in Austrian Economics and Ancap fundamentalism.

I'm done fighting with them.  They'll retake the state party this April and the LP of Pennsylvania will once again be just a right-wing populist group on the fringe of conservatism.

Good news is that I've come out of this experience with a new position, what I call Radical Centralism.

I recognize that, historically, the point of any economic policy is to secure wealth.

That's how it has always been.  Any progress for humanity is ultimately a balance with its conservative roots, between Property and the People.

And that is why the political Center the most volitile position in politics, because that's where change is actually made.

And this is also why Right-Wing Populism, which is what Murray Rothbard advocated, is such a dangerous phenomena in the US today.

They are educating a new Corp of youth and veterans,
 all under councils of Old Guard Conservatives

The trolls you find that spout off about NAP and "voluntaryism" are simply leaders-in-training.

Now, I'm not saying that they are Fascists.  I'm not.  I'm saying that fascists are like Them.

People wrapped up in this Anarcho-Capitalist, Austrian School bullshit need to check themselves.

If you truly believe in the principle of Liberty, it's time you embraced the principle of Democracy as well.

This is America.  For all its faults, the US stood against the monarchies of Europe, from the Congress of Vienna to the end of the Habsburg Empire.  The Austrian School was born under the Habsburgs and continues the tradition to this day.

Anarcho-Capitalism is a very radical view, a belief in the privatization of everything and an end to all democracy.

The Libertarian principles of "individual sovereignty" and "self-ownership", as if people can be owned at all, needs to be questioned.

I'm not calling them feudalists, but that feudalists are like Them.

These "new intellectuals", as Ayn Rand called them, all talk the same, all argue the same way.

They're being trained that way.  They're everywhere.  And frankly, it's exhausting.

Government is not the problem.  Corruption is the problem, and we need to correct it.

I believe that government should Serve== to protect the People and secure their rights.

I think that rights in property should be respected, but that citizen rights must also be respected.

And in referencing the US Constitution, Article 1 Section 8, the phrases "common defense" and "general welfare" should carry equal weight.

Anyway, that's how I see things now.  If you'd like to discuss anything, post your comments and we'll chat.

Thanks for watching.