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Are you better off now than you were 400 years ago?

My sample ballot for the New Jersey primary on June 5, 2012.

We all know what went on four years ago.  RBC hearing, rules manipulation, voter disenfranchisement.  All voters are equal but some voters are more equal than others, blah, blah, blah.  You know the drill.  You’ve heard it for so long now that it’s just a persistent, high pitched whine that has faded into background noise and can easily be ignored. Or avoided.

That’s not what I want to talk about today.  I want to talk about choices.  Back when I had to make a choice about whether I wanted to persist in taking math heavy science courses, which my years of switching schools did not prepare me for, or something less anxiety producing, my academic advisor suggested I go into law.  Yep, she said, you might make a good lawyer.  But did I listen?  Noooo.  All I could think of was that a class on torts would make my ears bleed.  So, now I am not only an unemployed scientist, I am also forced to figure out just what the heck a “kill list” is from a legal standpoint.  And the closest I can come to it is a Bill of Attainder.

It’s funny how Obama is falling back on Thomas Aquinas for moral guidance because a bill of attainder is positively medieval.  Basically, a bill of attainder is a sentence of punishment without the inconveniences of all that due process shit that just gets in the way.  King Henry VIII was the kind of monarch I have in mind when it comes to bills of attainder.  For example, Thomas Cromwell was stripped of all his worldly goods before he was executed and all he did to earn it, so the rumor goes, was arrange the disastrous, unconsummated marriage of Henry with the innocent Anne of Cleves.  With a bill of attainder, property could be confiscated, rights stripped and heads debodied with relatively little fuss.  You don’t like someone?  They threaten you, are treasonous or just phenomenally bad matchmakers?  Get a bill of attainder, problem solved.

Bills of attainder are legislative solutions, by the way, that were explicitly forbidden by the US Constitution, (Article 1, section 9).  Traditionally, an executive needed to go to a legislative body of government to get one.  I’m guessing that back in the day, this was probably pretty easy to do, considering parliaments were made up of your peers. If it was good for the aristocracy, by golly, it was good enough for you.  But then the commoners started taking their rights a little more seriously and government began to change in the 17th century to more of a constitutional monarchy and then to the US Constitution where bills of attainder were upstaged by the Bill of Rights and had to get around all those annoying amendments.  But the writers must have been really serious about banning this kind of activity because you’d think that the explicit prohibition of bills of attainder in Article 1, section 9 would have been sufficient.  Apparently not, so due process was spelled out in the Bill of Rights to put additional speed bumps in the way.

Bills of attainder have not disappeared.  In the past 230+ years, there have been attempts to fashion bills of attainders.  But they’ve been modified by the courts.  But the “kill list” takes bills of attainders right back to the divine right of kings.  It’s good to know that Obama has a moral conscience (that little bit from the campaign ops about the philosophers was probably aimed at the college sophomores) and consults with a bunch of other people (WHO are we talking about, exactly?) about who makes the list but that’s not really in his job description and it’s not a legislative solution.  Or is it?  Did we sign away all our constitutional guarantees with the Patriot Act and the NDAA?  Did we unintentionally (or intentionally) authorize bills of attainder through legislation?

It’s not the first time that losing basic constitutional rights, like Habeas Corpus, has triggered a bad reaction from me but this new twist blows my mind.

It means that the Democratic Senate and “Democratic” president must have wanted it to happen. How else should we interpret it?  Bills of attainder are about as loathsome as law gets. Anyone can be deprived of all of their rights and property by one or several individuals based on a sneaking suspicion.  It’s really hard to believe that the Supreme Court would let this stand.  But this is not an ordinary Supreme Court.  It would have been better to never pass or sign the stupid bills to begin with.  Why would any president do it?  Isn’t the US Court system adequate?  Or do we expect so many traitors in the next couple of years that the courts would not be expected to process them all?  If that thought doesn’t bother you, go to an Occupy march sometime and count the riot police in military gear.

Voters should think about those questions this year.  If the idea of a bill of attainder on your head frightens you, think about what that means to the future of the country. What kind of system of government do we live under these days and who is really running the show?

Should you have seen this coming four years ago?  Yes, you should have seen it coming four years ago.  A guy who is willing to invalidate the elections of two states for his own gain is a guy who should have raised suspicions.  I know some fans were suckered in and got a little infatuated and acted like lovesick teenagers.  But to the rest of us, it just looked like a bad precedent to let the party mess with the elections on behalf of one guy.  One guy with money.  Money from a small group of rich bankers.  His peers.

Now that the orgasm has worn off, think about what it means to write off California, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Ohio, Texas, Florida and Michigan (list not exhaustive) to award the nomination to a guy who won caucuses in the sparsely populated states on the prairie.  And what the f&*( happened in Indiana?  That was just bizarre.  We just wrote those big states off, like they never even happened and we did if for a man who was in many respects a tabula rasa.  There are a lot of lefties who think our “problem” has something to do with Hillary Clinton but that’s a gross oversimplification of the issue.  Our problem is that more than half of the voters in the primaries were not counted and were silenced at the convention.  If it were Howard Dean who got the Hillary treatment, we’d never hear the end of  how outrageously unfair and unethical it is to disenfranchise 18 million voters. Right, guys?  You know I’m right.  But it’s Ok when it happens to someone else’s candidate.

Did we learn anything in the past four years?  I think some people have realized, too late, that they screwed up.  But is there something we can take from this example to guide us in the future?  I think the answer is that if you find out that a party and a candidate are willing to rewrite the rules on the fly and to apportion delegates to a candidate who wasn’t even on the ballot in one state in order to get a predetermined outcome, they will be more than willing to bend the rules to get what they want after the election is over.

I’d like to believe that there are still good people left in the party apparatus (still waiting for data on that) and that  those people would be willing to stand up and do what’s right.  If the primary system is meaningless, and all indications are that it is, then there should be little trouble questioning whether the “choice of no choice” this year is in the best interests of the party or the country.  Once upon a time, conventions were controversial and nomination votes went on for days until a nominee was selected.  Maybe this is the year to bring that back.

And there is still time for some of the more populous states of the nation to have their say.  Next week, California and New Jersey have their primaries.  Both states have a write in option.  Now is the time for voters to express their disapproval of the loss of their rights.  Maybe the spin doctors were able to write off the aberrations in the Arkansas, West Virginia and Kentucky primaries as racism.  But it’s harder to use that against California and New Jersey.

So, I am asking all voters in next week’s primaries to use your write in option to express your anger at the way this president and this Congress has trampled on your rights.  Write in a name.  You can choose whatever name you want.  Pick someone.  If you’re concerned with social/economic issues, why not Bernie Sanders?  If you are concerned with constitutional issues, why not Russ Feingold?  If you want a well rounded politician with experience, why not Hillary Clinton?  If you still think Howard Dean meant what he said about “the Democratic wing of the Democratic party”, write him in. YOU decide who that person is and write that name in.  These are big states and a write in campaign against the sitting president *will* get attention.

The Democrats, and particularly the Obama campaign, would like to control this election year so that nothing happens to distract the voters from the inevitability of Obama’s nomination.  And I say, fuck that shit. Don’t go down without a fight. What this country needs is a choice and some controversy and the ability to talk about stuff that concerns us without having some party apparatus muting our voices and changing the subject.

People are always asking, “I know it’s bad but what can we do??”.  You always have a choice.  Your vote is your own.  And just because Obama is the only named Democrat on the ballot in your state for President on the Democratic party’s ticket doesn’t mean you have to go along with the program.  All you need to do is tell two people and have them tell two people and so on and so on until there is critical mass (I’m guessing 30% of the voting Democrats would get their attention in a state the size of California).

Now, stop wringing your hands in frustration and worry.  You have 3 months to turn this ship around before the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina.  You can either be passive and allow the party to corral you because you are afraid of what might happen if you don’t go along with the program, or you can challenge the party and tell it to straighten up and fly right. Introduce some chaos so that the party isn’t just phoning it in this year.  Make them sweat. The last thing the party wants is a sign of disunity going into the general so its going to fight you.  But stand your ground and force it to have a national conversation about where it is planning to take the country in the future.

Because 400 years backwards is not my idea of progress.

63 Responses

  1. Great post!

  2. If you’re going to do this, RD, do it right. You need to all get together and agree to write-in the same person. That person is Cornel West. He’s the only one who has not endorsed Obama, and been a consistent, scathing, principled critic of Obama’s policies from the left since mid-2009.

    But this part of your essay is actually more interesting:

    Did we sign away all our constitutional guarantees [re: Bills of Attainder] with the Patriot Act and the NDAA? Did we unintentionally (or intentionally) authorize bills of attainder through legislation?

    Interesting questions. Possibly. It would be worth looking through those Acts of Congress (and amended versions thereof) carefully for just that.

    • Surprising no one has brought it up quite this way before, isn’t it? I guess this is the liability of not being a lawyer and asking naive questions. Has Glenn Greenwald addressed it?
      But if we unintentionally authorized bills of attainder with the patriot act and NDAA, doesn’t that mean they are probably NOT constitutional?

      • Bill of Attainders are unconstitutional, but they’re only relevant for American citizens, so the killing of al-Awlaki might be problematic for Obama constitutionally, but not foreigners. Was the assassination of Admiral Yamamoto in 1943, personally ordered by Roosevelt based on actionable intelligence, constitutional?

        • I don’t have a problem with the assassination of Yamamoto or any other foreign enemy who is actively supporting violence against US citizens. I do have a problem with Obama ordering the assassination of al Awlaki who held American citizenship. I don’t understand why there weren’t criminal charges filed and a trial held, in absentia. I’m not a lawyer so there may be reasons why that couldn’t occur but I wouldn’t have any problem with members of the CIA assassinating a man who was clearly successfully advocating violent acts of terrorism against US citizens once he had been found guilty of such in court.

    • By the way, I don’t think it matters that much who the name is on the write in. That John Wolfe lawyer was someone no one had ever heard of until two weeks ago and he was pretty successful. PLUS, putting West’s name up there is a big flashing light that screams lefty subversive! (I know it’s not but that’s how it will be reported). So, more well known politicians (pick from a small list) will probably be more effective.
      Heck, write in Al Gore’s name if you want to make a point. He was already elected president once anyway and he’s pretty mainstream.

      • The problem is that all the better-known politicians–with the possible exception of Al Gore–are too involved with the Obama Administration to be taken seriously as alternatives by the DP apparatus. Howard Dean? He IS the DP apparatus. Russ Feingold? Last fall he personally strangled the nascent movement to find a liberal challenger to Obama in its cradle. Bernie Sanders? Not a DP member. Hillary Clinton? All tangled up with the rest of the Cabinet in The Kill List. Al Gore? Possibly, but he shows no inclination that he’s interested in returning to politics.

        That leaves Cornel West, lefty subversive or not, as the last man standing. Cornel West vs. Barack Obama. It would provide a real choice of direction for the DP.

        • As Katiebird states, the idea is to be opposed to Obama. It looks like you can only pick from a list of candidates to write in in California. In New Jersey, it makes no difference.

          I wouldn’t try to put an ideological spin on it if I were voters. Of course, if that’s what they want to do, go with throttle up. But the basic thrust is to make our opposition clear and unambiguous. And anyway, I don’t see the reasoning behind selecting West. As far as Hillary is concerned, I haven’t seen evidence that she has gone along with this crazy assed shit yet. We do have evidence that she and the attorney general wanted to go to congress to lobby for the closure of Guantanamo and that Obama and Rahm shot it down. So, you know, maybe we should find out if she has been in opposition. Sometimes, resigning would only make a situation worse. If we listen to the mob screaming for blood indiscriminately, we may fail to recognize who’s really at fault here and condemn others for guilt by association. That’s kind of the attitude that the Brits took in WWII when some of the generals approached them asking for help to kill Hitler. They thought that the whole lot of them were bad and not all of them were.

          In other words, we need more data before we condemn her.

          • And anyway, I don’t see the reasoning behind selecting West.

            Principled opposition. If you want Obama’s targeted assassination apparatus dismantled, West would do it. The others? Unlikely, in my opinion. Moreover, if 100,000 people in NJ wrote in West’s name, Obama would sit up and take notice.

          • If 100,000 people in NJ wrote in Sanders or Hillary’s name, he’d take notice. If 100,000 wrote in West’s name, we’d only confuse everyone.

            Besides, I am still convinced that writing in either Sanders or Hillary *is* principled opposition.

          • The whole Cabinet’s complicit, RD. Including her. Silence always implies at least a measure of consent.

          • That’s like saying Von Staufenberg, the Abwehr and countless other military personnel who were determined to overthrow Hitler were all guilty because they didn’t expose themselves and resign at the beginning of the craziness. Nevermind that that would have put targets on their heads and made their opposition impossible.
            And I keep telling you that you do not know the depth of the opposition, if there is one, or who was in it? Killing OBL is one thing, dropping drones on innocent teenagers is another.
            What if it turns out that there are good guys, but not saints, in the group or that they distanced themselves? Should we exclude someone just because they were in the administration at the time of this crap? If we do that, isn’t it possible that we are also excluding the people we need to make things right? In other words, aren’t we guilty of a trial without a jury if we jump to the wrong conclusions and condemn someone to political execution without proof of involvement?
            One of the reasons we don’t just throw people out of office when it’s possible that they totally deserve it is because we prefer to make the evidence and proof of guilt so irrefutable that there’s no way they can get back in. We need to be asking questions about whether this is an impeachable offense (IMHO, it reaches that level) and then investigate and try and let the chips fall where they may.
            From the accounts that I’ve read, Hillary was one of the reasonable ones.

          • RD, Hillary Clinton is his most senior advisor within the Cabinet. She’s in it very deep. She’s a very strong supporter of the strikes, as even the NYT admitted. The only debate between her and Obama has been over what to use as “carrots” as inducement not to join aQ. As she pointed out to him, the policy has to be about more than killing; there has to be something in addition to assassination. In the end, he did take her advice on that. But there’s no sense that she opposes the use of drone strikes on principle, or the drawing up of lists of targets for assassination, or the use of signature strikes.

            My point is that her involvement with the Obama Administration is now too deep to be a viable substitute for Obama. The same goes for most of the others whose names have been floated. That leaves West, and as you pointed out, Gore. The scatter-shot approach, though (put in anyone’s name but Obama) is not going to be taken seriously by the DP apparatus, as the results of the Texas primary showed.

          • NK, West is a nonstarter. Most people don’t know who the f&*( he is.
            I won’t take Hillary off the list until I find out EXACTLY what her level of involvement was. And neither should you. Obama is completely responsible because he’s the president. But we should at least look at all of the evidence before we write off all of the other people in this administration. For all we know, this may be an attempt to make sure other people are implicated no matter what their level of involvement. If Hillary was in it deep, I’ll eat my blog. But from what I have seen of Hillary, let’s just say I question this guilt by association.

            One other thing, I searched that NYTimes article for her name and it was only mentioned ONCE in relation to the closing of Guantanamo, which she and Eric Holder made a priority compared to other White House officials. If there were additional references to her specifically in that NYTimes article, I didn’t see them. For all we know, Biden is his closest advisor, not Clinton. The new Robert Caro book on LBJ says that the Kennedys almost completely cut him out of the loop. I’m betting that happens more often than you think with this White House. Many other books have alluded to the cliquish behavior of the Obama admin.
            Just sayin.

          • And to Obama’s credit, he has set the system up to place the responsibility for the assassination orders on himself alone. Ordering assassinations is not part of the Secretary of State job description. Rather, Hillary Clinton’s involvement is in the shaping of the overall policy towards aQ, which is targeted assassination + other things. She’s part of that system now. By choice. You will see (though the details may not be made public for some time).

            I still say vote for West. Democratic, non-Marxist socialism is the direction the DP is most likely to take down the road. But if you can’t for West, then vote for Al Gore. As you pointed out, he’s verifiably “clean”, so to speak.

          • If you know something concrete and irrefutable about Hillary’s involvement, not just something speculative, you need to share it with the rest of the class. Preferably now. Get it out there so we can be properly disgusted.

          • I know the same as you do, RD. And from the same source.


            The money quote:

            In his June 2009 speech in Cairo, aimed at resetting relations with the Muslim world, Mr. Obama had spoken eloquently of his childhood years in Indonesia, hearing the call to prayer “at the break of dawn and the fall of dusk.”

            “The United States is not — and never will be — at war with Islam,” he declared.

            But in the months that followed, some officials felt the urgency of counterterrorism strikes was crowding out consideration of a broader strategy against radicalization. Though Mrs. Clinton strongly supported the strikes, she complained to colleagues about the drones-only approach at Situation Room meetings, in which discussion would focus exclusively on the pros, cons and timing of particular strikes.

            At their weekly lunch, Mrs. Clinton told the president she thought there should be more attention paid to the root causes of radicalization, and Mr. Obama agreed. But it was September 2011 before he issued an executive order setting up a sophisticated, interagency war room at the State Department to counter the jihadi narrative on an hour-by-hour basis, posting messages and video online and providing talking points to embassies.

            Based on this piece of “actionable intelligence”, as it were, the choice is clear. Cornel West or Al Gore as substitutes for Obama. 🙂

          • The possible grounds for your Article of Impeachment is here:

            On that front, perhaps no case would test Mr. Obama’s principles as starkly as that of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric and Qaeda propagandist hiding in Yemen, who had recently risen to prominence and had taunted the president by name in some of his online screeds.

            The president “was very interested in obviously trying to understand how a guy like Awlaki developed,” said General Jones. The cleric’s fiery sermons had helped inspire a dozen plots, including the shootings at Fort Hood. Then he had gone “operational,” plotting with Mr. Abdulmutallab and coaching him to ignite his explosives only after the airliner was over the United States.

            That record, and Mr. Awlaki’s calls for more attacks, presented Mr. Obama with an urgent question: Could he order the targeted killing of an American citizen, in a country with which the United States was not at war, in secret and without the benefit of a trial?

            The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel prepared a lengthy memo justifying that extraordinary step, asserting that while the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of due process applied, it could be satisfied by internal deliberations in the executive branch.

            Mr. Obama gave his approval, and Mr. Awlaki was killed in September 2011, along with a fellow propagandist, Samir Khan, an American citizen who was not on the target list but was traveling with him.

            If the president had qualms about this momentous step, aides said he did not share them. Mr. Obama focused instead on the weight of the evidence showing that the cleric had joined the enemy and was plotting more terrorist attacks.

            “This is an easy one,” Mr. Daley recalled him saying, though the president warned that in future cases, the evidence might well not be so clear.

          • The most interesting quote in the NYT article is this, though:

            He’s the president. He faces a post-Abdulmutallab situation, where he’s being told people might attack the United States tomorrow.”

            Any thoughts on what this somewhat cryptic statement means?

          • It seems to raise more questions than it answers. What kind of strikes was she in favor of using? Why did she fear radicalization? Who said what to whom and why?
            Very vague and non-descript. I’d still want to get all the data first.
            Gore, Ok, West? I like the guy and he’s been an Occupy mainstay but he’s not a politician and I think we need to send a message that we’re serious. JMHO.
            Still like Hillary. Would take her in a heartbeat.

          • The post-Abdulmultallab reference is to the underwear bomber. So, basically, Obama is being made to think that future terrorist acts will be something airborn and spectacular and he’s using it as an excuse to crack down domestically. Butcha know, in a post 9-11 world, I think the terrorists have shot their wad on airborn attacks. What I would find really scary and completely doable would be something like an Palestinian attack on a picturesque Israeli cafe where people of all ages go for ice cream. You know, like down at the shore or some quaint touristy village or even the produce department of a supermarket on a busy Saturday morning. THAT would scare the bejeesus out of people. All of the flight risks seem like decoys and red-herrings to me. But if that is the case, then the whole country would have to be on lockdown 24/7 and no one would be able to do anything out of the ordinary without suspicion and I don’t think a country can live like that for long and still consider itself to be free and democratic. Power like that is too easily abused and it’s not effective anyway. This is a big country, there are millions of soft targets. It’s impossible to patrol every square inch. People need to realize that living in the world is risky. You aren’t seeing this level of hysteria and crackdown in Europe where they’ve been living with it for longer.
            I don’t know, the whole thing smells like someone is trying to take advantage of the situation.

        • I, like many Americans, am not opposed to using drone strikes against al Qaeda targets. There are legitimate questions as to when it should be done but the al-Awlaki killing was different matter and I know of no evidence that suggests that Hillary supported that action.

          • Were’s the cut off? What’s the threat? I can’t think of a more disgusting thing than these Drone attacks. Learning that President Obama spends every Tuesday morning considering the nominees makes me sick.

    • The main thing would be to wrack up a large percent of anyone-but-Obama votes. Holding Obama’s percent to as low a number as possible.

      I think in this case, matching names doesn’t matter.

      • Are California and NJ closed or open primaries?

        • I don’t know about California but in NJ we have a semi-closed primary. That means that if you’re not a party member on the day of the election, you can declare a party in order to participate. You can be a Democrat for a day.

    • Different people are going to have their own ideas of who their favorite “write in person” is. Even if nobody agrees on any one “write in person”, writing in somebody would still delete a vote from Obama.
      So would voting Third Party.

      Even if you are just talking about primary states yet to elect, writing in somebody is better than voting for Obama. But only if the DemParty bosses understand that you really are ready to see Romney win rather than allow Obama to win again.

  3. In California, write in votes will only count if the name written in has applied to the state to be a write in candidate. Any write in name will not be counted if that name is not on a pre-approved list.

    Here are the eligible candidates:
    MICHAEL W.R. MEYER, JR. Democratic
    LUIS ALBERTO RAMOS, JR. Democratic
    JEREMY HANNON Republican
    ANDREW ABE DIAZ American Independent
    RAYMOND DELMOND SMITH American Independent
    RONALD CLINTON FORBES Peace and Freedom
    LEON LEO RAY Peace and Freedom
    SHELLEY UPCHURCH Peace and Freedom

    • Sounds like a plan. Spread the word.
      By the way, it doesn’t work like this in New Jersey where the choice is “personal”, as the ballot shows.

      • I’m liking Darcy Richardson. He is an author, political historian and progressive activist. According to WIKI, Darcy urged Robert Reich to mount a challenge to Obama. When Reich demurred… Darcy applied for primary eligibility in many states including NH and Texas and CA.

        If I could write in Hillary I would be happy, but I will be satisfied with just logging my vote AGAINST Obama.

    • Well . . . this sounds better than ” Cornel West”. Do such lists of
      “:permitted write in candidates” exist for other primaries yet to be held?

  4. The primaries are rigged. No one is going to get Delegates but Obama.

    The question is do invalid write-in votes count as votes against Obama even if they don’t count FOR someone else.

    Another question. What is the easiest way to register a protest vote in your state. Do that.

  5. Here, in CA, invalid write in votes do not count at all. They do not get counted and they do not go to the party as a vote.

    • So, make sure they’re valid.
      There is a write-in option, presumably so you can exercise it. California is so bizarre with all of its direct democracy through proposition things that a write-in should be a piece of cake.
      The party is probably thinking no one will ever use it.
      Surprise them.

  6. North Carolina?

    You mean the Democratic Party hasn’t canceled their convention as a result of N C’s anti-gay vote on same gender marriage?

    Another reason to stay home come November.

    • By “stay home” I hope you merely mean “not vote for Obama”. Surely there will be all sorts of interesting initiatives and referrenda, as well as down-ticket people to vote about, in your state.

  7. From a quick look around the Internet it would seem that write in voting in PA has no restrictions and the votes must be counted. Where I live in Lancaster County it appears the only restriction is the proper spelling of the write-in candidate’s name. Unless the General Assembly sneaks something past between now and November, I’m going to show up and write in Hillary Clinton, unless somebody has a better idea on who’s name to write.

    • Is your primary next week too?? I thought PA’s was in April.

      • I’m referring to the General Election. Yes, our primary has come and gone.

        • Write-ins are useful for primaries, but for the general election, it would be better to vote for a third-party candidate to help that party obtain 5% of the vote nationwide, and matching funds in the next election.

      • The PA primary was April 24. It’s long past.

  8. Did the National DemParty rig its convention “for” Obama? Or did they rig it for the people Obama belongs to and works for?

    For example, Reid and Pelosi very much hated and feared that FISA lawsuit working its way through the courts. Both of them for the reason that it might expose their connection to CheneyBush’s various War Crimes and Pelosi for the additional crass vulgar reason that a successful judgement against AT&T for its part in the spying might reduce the share price of her several million shares of AT&T stock. I suspect they extorted Obama’s support for the “abort the FISA suit” law as the price he would have to pay to get their support. If I am right about that, then it means that the DemParty rigged the convention for Pelosi and Reid and all the other Big PermaDems, and not just Obama specifically.

  9. I like Cornel West. He and Tavis Smiley are the only principled blacks who seem to have challenged Obama on his record. But he’s not a politician, he’s not well known and that hairdo is offputting (that’s shallow but it matters in politics).

    I left the presidential ballot blank when I voted in the Ohio primary. We can do write-ins on early ballots but not at the polls. It gets reported as an undervote but the media didn’t seem concerned that so many people who voted in the Democratic primary in this state chose not to vote for Obama.

    • I like Cornel West too. Liking isn’t the issue. It’s a matter of putting a name out there that could be a legitimate contender to Obama. This seems to be going over the head of the left blogosphere. They could have brought the party to heel a while ago if they had thought this through and done what the party never expected.

      • I suspect a lot of leftists have considered themselves so nobly powerless and so morally-superiorly marginalized for so long that thinking about “power” and how to use it for themselves by using it against their targets is alien to their mindset.

        I remember reading something by a specimen of the type named
        Chris Hedges dripping with effusive praise for Noam Chomsky because Chomsky taught Hedges about the binary opposition of Lofty Principle and Moral Witness to Vulgar Power. I can easily imagine Chris Hedges jumping up out of the weeds to lead a “Write Cornel In!”

        • Ditto. Can we please stop committing political emasculation? Cornel is a different kind of agent. He’s an intellectual/moral voice. He’s more along the lines of a MLK or a Gloria Steinem. That’s where he’s most effective. But he is not a politician and shouldn’t be. Politicians have to behave politically. And when you take your moral voices and make them act politically, they do neither very well.

  10. I like your post, and greatly expresses my sentiments as to why I put my name as a write in candidate in California. By the way, those registered as not having a party preference in California can also pull a Democrat ballot to do a write in, and encourage you to do so.

    Myself, I am running as a Republican, which is being run as a closed primary in California this year. Still, it is the same situation: if enough people do write in the candidate on the ballot, and a qualified one that can be counted, it should send a message to party leaders.

    Just remember to get out and vote on Tuesday!

    • Jeffrey, we are Democrats in Exile here. We are primarily FDR and Clinton Democrats. We consider ourselves liberal Democrats. We have a problem with our party but the problem is that it is not adhering to liberal Democratic values. I doubt there is anyone who posts here who would even dream of wasting a vote in a Republican party.
      I understand that you’re trying to get voters but you’re really looking in the wrong place here.
      You might want to try the Crawdad Hole run by myiq2xu. I suspect they will be more receptive and a lot less selective.

      • I think you missed my point. My primary goal is to get people out and vote and to get involved. On the Republican side we are also quite disappointed in our leadership for not conforming to our principles. I did not expect anyone here to vote for me — you actually can not unless you are registered as a Republican — but I do want to encourage you to vote democrat and write in another name.

        Also, on the “liberal Democrat” principles — I know there are differences in ideologies, but I would definitely not discount someone because of their party affiliation. I certainly do not. There are many issues where I believe both sides actually agree, but can not seem to get over these political lables to be able to sit down and discuss.

        I want to show how to run a new kind of campaign. One of openess, honesty, and transparency. One where anyone can ask questions and get an answer. You may like some of my blog posts.

        So, just get out there and make an informed vote. I am much more interested in education and discussion than actually getting votes.

        • I’m sorry, Jeremy, but you are running as a Republican and unless your economic philosophy resembles FDRs and Bill Clinton’s and LBJ’s and that you are in agreement that there are certain things the government can do more efficiently and at a lower cost than the private sector (like social security, education and healthcare), then I don’t think we really have anything to discuss. Social issues are not enough and I doubt that any Democrat in Exile would be taken in by appeals of that nature.
          I urge Democrats to go to the polls tomorrow and write in their votes so that the party will get a clue and straighten itself out before November. If we thought we could get what we want by monkeywrenching the Republican primary, we’d have suggested it by now.
          There is no middle ground between true Democrats and Republicans and we’re not deluded into thinking there is.
          When you’ve decided to come over to our side, because you finally realize that your party is tearing this country to pieces and sending us into scientific and technical oblivion, then we’ll talk. Until then, you might as well be speaking Martian for all we care.

          • We are at least in agreement that you need to go to the polls to send your party a message! (Like I said, not trying to get you to vote for me by any means)

            Really do no know what you mean by scientific and technical oblivion (I am a computer software developer myself)

            We can agree to disagree on the economic side.

          • I know you don’t know, Jeremy. That’s what makes you so dangerous as a candidate. You need to find out what is happening to our scientific infrastructure and if you are not horrified, then you shouldn’t be running for office.

          • I was kind of trying to get you to give me examples of what you meant by scientific decline, as some people talk about ideology, while others are referring to items such as the crazy way NASA is being treated, or the shutdown of our own collider programs. We at least have the National Ignition Facility still in our own country.

            I was hoping you would also try and educate instead of simply condemning.

          • 1.) I am an unemployed chemist laid off from an industry that has laid off over 100,000 scientists in the last several years. I lost my job to France, wrap your head around that and you’ll know everything there is to know about what is wrong with our country and it’s not the deficit.
            2.) I own this blog. I have the right to be condescending to anyone I like. But I don’t usually exercise my prerogative unless someone is seriously spouting nonsense. If you don’t like condescension, you might consider getting your own blog. It’s free.

          • You definitely have the right,
            I am disgusted with what is happening with jobs such a yours in this county. Science and research need to be better encouraged here.

        • OMG, Jeremy, is this YOU!???? http://jeremyhannon.blogspot.com/2011/07/budget-zero.html
          You have GOT to be kidding. Your budget ideas have already been a disaster for the country. I can’t believe you would even think of trying to market that shit here at this blog. We are evidence based people who have an understanding of history and cause and effect. Either you are stupid about macroeconomics or you’re being deliberately disingenuous.
          Go away, Jeremy. You’re party is insane and your budget zero nonsense is extremely dangerous.

          • I am saying the entire way that we budget is wrong. The post is an example of how we have to change our thinking of budgeting… not giving an agency money based on what they had last year but based on what they are to accomplish this year.

          • You are just wrong, wrong, wrong on every thing you wrote.
            You Republicans either learned nothing from The Great Depression or you are trying to prevent the kind of solutions we used to get us out of it from ever happening again.
            By the way, Jeremy, Freedom and Liberty mean nothing if there is one tiny group of people sitting on the money supply.

          • First, I find it really disappointing that you choose to say “you republicans” as if we are all of one mind. I am a 34 year old Californian and definitely have my own mind about things.

            I think you may be misinformed as to what actually got us into and out of the “great depression”. What got us out of the depression was the war and the industrial drive and motivation, along with the Government funding, that it created. The majority of the programs that FDR created did not seem to really help that situation, regardless of what you were taught in school (I was taught the same thing. I have learned better since then)

            This statement: ” Freedom and Liberty mean nothing if there is one tiny group of people sitting on the money supply.”, however, is right on the money.

            We need to prevent government and dangerous government partnerships (i.e. Federal Reserve) etc. from controlling the money supply. In a true capitalistic economy, it is driven by human drive and spirit and not by some arbitrary controller. The control needs to be back in the hands of the people.

            Money, itself, is a made up entity. Wealth, in all of its forms, is what drives society and trade. Wealth can be created or destroyed. Every individual has the ability to create wealth, and that ability needs not be hindered. Allowing the free exchange of wealth, material goods, and “money” is how you can keep things flowing and people having what they need. Having that controlled just puts a human in charge of other humans — a bad idea.

        • Jeesus tap dancin’ christ, Jeremy, do you have any idea what the interest rate is for the government to borrow money right now?? We pay virtually NO interest for borrowing. And since there are so many of us out of work right now, the deficit is getting worse because the government can’t collect revenues. We have to prime the pump with enough money to restart the economy’s engine so that we can collect that revenue.
          I can’t believe how stupid your proposals sound. Typical assinine Tea Party Republican ignorant BULLSHIT.

          • The interest rate itself is not that relevant. When you accumulate as much debt as we have in recent years, it adds up quickly.

            At the same time, who you owe the debt to is just as important if not more important. Anyone who holds debt holds influence over the one who owes the debt

            You can’t have social programs if you cannot ultimately pay for them. There is too much waste right now… much of which is due to corruption, political favors, etc. You have to have a system that works, otherwise, you may end up having no system at all.

          • Jeremy, please stop talking. You don’t have enough knowledge about how government debt works to make an informed argument. Anyone who believes your writings is going to follow you right off a cliff.
            You need to go campaign now in California now and leave us alone.

          • I know quite a bit about government debt, but I also understand the larger realities.

            I will leave now as requested. It has bee great talking with you.

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