Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

Don’t Name That Senator

Posted in Barack Obama, politics by allisonkilkenny on January 25, 2009

David Segal

image4749710xNOW that Gov. David Paterson of New York has completed his operatic quest to fill Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat and Roland Burris, chosen by the embattled Illinois governor to succeed Barack Obama, has made it past Capitol Hill security, we can safely conclude that appointing senators might not be such a good idea.

Actually, Americans came to that conclusion in 1913, when the 17th Amendment mandated regular senatorial elections. Reformers pushed the amendment as an antidote to the inevitable cronyism that surrounded the selections. In essence, however, it just allowed governors to pick replacements, as opposed to state legislatures.

The very problems the amendment was meant to address persist. Consider this: Nearly a quarter of the United States senators who have taken office since the 17th Amendment took effect have done so via appointment. Once Representative Kirsten Gillibrand, Mr. Paterson’s choice, joins the Senate, she will be one of more than 180 senators named by governors since 1913.

By contrast, the Constitution mandates special elections for all vacancies in the House — even though representatives are far less powerful than senators.

Yet only a handful of states routinely fill vacated Senate seats by special election. The result is a tyranny of appointments.

This is bad for the legislature, and the constituents. Even when appointments are not explicitly put up for sale, a governor’s deliberations are surely informed by political expediency and personal ambition. (It would be impossible to look at the New York debacle and not think otherwise.) And even when the process is explicitly political and maybe even corrupt, as appears to be the case in Illinois, it seems as if there’s not a lot anyone can do about it. After all, the Illinois Legislature was unable to wrest power from Gov. Rod Blagojevich to force a special election.

There’s much talk of a “change agenda” in Washington these days. We would do well to add another item to the list: We should stop letting governors appoint senators.

Last year, I sponsored legislation in Rhode Island to require vacancy elections for the United States Senate. Congress should now step in and push all states to do the same. Though Congress’s power to force special elections is untested, it could surely create incentives for putting them in place — or push for another constitutional amendment.

If Congress won’t act, the states should move forward on their own. Special elections have their difficulties — among them, clogged fields of candidates and time-consuming and expensive runoffs.

But these challenges are surmountable. Instant runoff voting, which compresses runoffs into general elections by having voters rank candidates in order of preference, is one solution.

And, as we’ve learned in Illinois and New York, elected officials provide a lot more hope for genuine democracy than their gubernatorially appointed alternatives.

David Segal is a Rhode Island state representative and an analyst for FairVote, a voting rights advocacy group.

Join Drunken Politics Friday with Special Guest: Ralph Nader!

Posted in Uncategorized by allisonkilkenny on October 23, 2008

 

Join us LIVE 3-5pm EST!

Join us LIVE 3-5pm EST!

Join us from 3-5pm EST when we will interview presidential candidate Ralph Nader.

Listen here: myspace.com/drunkenpoliticsradio where the show with be streaming LIVE.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ycR36N68R8

 

C-SPAN TO AIR PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE LIVE

Posted in Uncategorized by allisonkilkenny on October 22, 2008

Free and Equal is pleased to announce that

CSPAN will be covering tomorrow night’s debate LIVE from 9:00pm to 10:30 EST. Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin and Independent candidate Ralph Nader have confirmed their participation.

Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party nominee, has declined to attend due to scheduling conflicts. The invitation to debate remains open.  

A moderator has been confirmed, and will be announced tomorrow morning.

A live web feed will be streamed by Restore the Republic Radio at  http://www.rtrradio.com

 

Tickets for the event can be purchased at http://www.freeandequal.org/buyticktes.php

 

To request media credentials for the debate, please send an e-mail to media@freeandequal.org.

Inquiries may be directed to Christina Tobin@ (312) 320-4101, or by e-mail to Christina@freeandequal.org.

Drunken Politics with Special Guest: Matt Gonzalez

Posted in Uncategorized by allisonkilkenny on October 22, 2008

Drunken Politics interviews Ralph Nader’s running mate, Matt Gonzalez, tonight @ 11PM EST!

Join us at 11pm EST!

Join us at 11pm EST!

Our favorite politician on the planet will be calling in to Drunken Politics tonight. You can stream it live at myspace.com/drunkenpolitics @ 11pm EST – Send us any questions if you got ’em.

If you have not checked him out yet please do:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Matt Gonzalez at the Fighting Bob Fes…“, posted with vodpod

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Vice Pres Candidate Matt Gonzalez on …“, posted with vodpod

 

Ralph Nader/Matt Gonzalez Wall Street Bailout Rally

Posted in Uncategorized by allisonkilkenny on October 18, 2008

Boston Tea Party 2008

Posted in Barack Obama by allisonkilkenny on October 16, 2008

For years, colonialists have been angered by the policy of taxation without representation. The famous protester, John Hancock, arranges a boycott of the large company British East India

Terrorists

Terrorists

Company. Hancock begins to smuggle tea into the country illegally without paying taxes. Britain responds by allowing the East Tea Company to sell directly to the colonies thereby undercutting the profits of smugglers.

The East Tea Company is aided by lobbyists and powerful members of Parliament. The smugglers, including Samuel Adams and John Hancock, call for East Tea Company colonial employees to abandon their jobs.

Meanwhile, in an underground cellar in a Bostonian pub, the Sons of Liberty, the secret organization of American Patriots, are detained by British guards. Unbeknown to SoL members, they had been infiltrated by British spies, who have been reporting the group’s activities to His Majesty for the past five months. The Sons of Liberty are now a “terrorist organization,” and the members are arrested. The group is never able to meet Adams and Hancock at the harbor in order to dump the tea.

Undeterred, Adams and Hancock decide to dump the tea themselves. The Revolutionaries don war paint and feathers and sneak toward the ship. They are immediately stopped by Captain Roach and the royal governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Hutchinson.

Hutchinson: Where’s your permit?

Adams: Our what?

Hutchinson: Your permit. You need a permit to protest here.

Hancock: Well, we didn’t have time to apply for one. Drastic times call for drastic measures, you know.

Adams: Anyway, there’s really no permit available for what we want to do…

Hutchinson: Which is what?

Adams
: Dump the East Tea Company’s tea.

Roach: Good heavens! That’s positively Revolutionary!

Adams: That’s sort of the idea, yeah…

Hutchinson: You don’t really intend to break the law, do you?

Adams: Indeed.

Roach: Jesus H. Christ! The absolute Gall!

Hutchinson: No go. Sorry.

Hancock: Oh, C’mon!

Hutchinson
: Nope. No.

Hancock: C’moooooon!

Hutchinson: Tell you what: You can throw one tea bag into the harbor, but only one of you can go onto the ship. And you can’t make any noise. And take off those silly costumes. And the other one of you has to wait in a little pen I will construct out of wood and some mud. And did I mention you mustn’t raise your voice, or I will fine you a week’s wages?

(Enter stage left): A man appears from the shadows, scribbling furiously on parchment.

Man: Thomas Paine: citizen journalist! Are you repressing their right to freedom of expression?!

Hutchinson: (Tasers Paine)

Roach: That freedom doesn’t exist yet, punk. (Kicks Paine in the kidney)

Paine: (Cries in pain)

Adams: Holy crap!

Hutchinson: So what were you boys saying?

Adams and Hancock: Nothing! Nothing….

Adams and Hancock back away, hands held up in surrender before they turn and run away.

END SCENE

Americans take for granted their rights to taxation with representation, to protest, and to maintain certain human dignities. Oftentimes, they forget that the founding fathers were radicals, who broke the law, and faced the possibility of execution as they thumbed their noses at King George.

The $700 billion dollar bailout of Wall Street is exactly the kind of taxation without representation that the founding fathers fought to reject over 200 years ago. Taxpayers, who had no control over predatory lending and shady deregulation, are now responsible for paying the bill while CEOs jump out of windows with their golden parachutes strapped safely to their backs.

At today’s Wall Street protest, Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzales, the Independent party presidential and vice-presidential nominees, called for the immediate termination of this taxpayer bailout. Just as the founding fathers rejected the tyrannical reign of King George, so Nader/Gonzales reject the tyrannical reign of George W. Bush and his corporate cronies.

In none of the presidential debates have either Barack Obama or John McCain called the bailout exactly what it is — the bailout of Capitalism and the unfair continuation of socialized debt with privatized profit.

Reaction to the worsening state of the economy has been tame for obvious reasons. The protest of America’s forefathers would be impossible today as illustrated in the fantasy Boston Tea Party above. Protesters would be immediately arrested and incarcerated if they took to Wall Street and lit Federal Hall ablaze. That kind of behavior would be called radical, Anarchist, and obscene.

So it’s too much to ask for a revolution, but at the least, politicians should speak frankly about the hold corporations and crooked Capitalism have on the country. The media has performed a blackout on third party candidates during this sham of an election, which is entirely financed by corporations like AT&T and Wachovia.

Americans can’t expect to have a frank and honest discussion about Constitutional violations (like wiretapping) and taxpayer bailouts of banks when the sponsors of their debates are the very entities under scrutiny: the phone companies and the banks. This is like asking McDonald’s to finance health education programs. Sponsoring debates about their own failings would work against the interests of these corporations, which is why there has been zero talk about wiretapping phones and the faltering of Free Trade policies.

For the sake of the American spirit, citizens must summon the same outrage felt that day on 1773. Citizens must reject the bailout, the neutered election process, and they must open the debates to third party candidates in order to reinvigorate the environment of passionate discussion missing in this 2008 election. Nearly half of the American people think Ralph Nader should be allowed in the presidential debates. They long to see the candidates challenged on issues like universal health care and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, instead of the normal, bland repeating of tired stump speeches. Now is the time to reinvigorate the American political process, and the first step is letting third party candidates into the debates.